Come-back bid falls short for South Central, 44-42
A tight, defensive battle soon gave way to Borden capitalizing on South Central’s mistakes on the hardwood Friday night in Elizabeth.
All four of Borden’s made 3-pointers came in the third quarter, a frame in which South Central coughed up possession nine times. The scoreboard went from a 16-14 Borden lead at the half to a 35-18 lead.
Despite the lapse in the third, South Central continued to push forward, mounting a frantic rally. Shots began to fall for the Rebels, eventually cutting the Borden advantage to one point on two occasions inside the final minutes.
Holding the final possession, South Central’s Chase Schoen missed a runner in the lane, then Bradley Hertle couldn’t put in a desperate put-back. The final horn had South Central falling to their Southern Athletic Conference rival, Borden, 44-42 in boys’ basketball.
‘It comes down to taking care of the ball,’ South Central coach Greg Robinson said. ‘It’s hard to gather yourself and play defense possession after possession when you don’t get a shot at the other end. Or, the shot you are getting doesn’t go in. We didn’t shoot the ball or handle the ball very well, but we played hard. We didn’t give up.’
Borden coach Doc Nash burned a time out 15 seconds into his team’s first possession of the second half. Out of the break, the Braves found some rhythm once Lucas McNew put down a 3-pointer.
South Central came back with a Hertle basket, but, after that, Borden went on a 16-2 burst. Dakota Rippy nailed a pair of 3-pointers, then McNew added another. Turnovers became an issue for the Rebels as back-court issues set up layups for McNew. His final steal-and-score became a 3-point play, giving the Braves a 35-18 lead at the close of three quarters.
‘They did what we didn’t do in the first half,’ Robinson said. ‘In the third quarter, they converted our turnovers into points. We were not able to convert Borden’s turnovers into points in the first half. That’s probably the game.’
In the first half, Borden had nine turnovers, struggling to find shots against South Central’s zone. The Rebels opened the game on a 6-0 run, guided by four points from Brandon Summers; however, they couldn’t capitalize on the miscues, especially in the second quarter when they made only one field goal. South Central did go 4 of 5 at the stripe in the second to keep the game at one possession.
‘Our poor offensive execution ‘ the missed shots and layups we had in the first half ‘ probably had to do with the turnovers we had in the third quarter,’ Robinson said. ‘You shouldn’t be down two if you turn a team over that many times in the first half.’
Still, come the fourth quarter, Robinson saw his players perk up and make it a ballgame.
Chase Schoen scored 12 of his team-best 16 points in the final eight minutes. The 6-foot-4 junior fired up his team and crowd with a pair of and-ones in the lane. A steal by Andrew Miller set up the second 3-point play with four minutes to play. Schoen’s conversion cut Borden’s lead to seven, 41-34.
It was part of a 12-0 run at the time for South Central. T.J. Boyd had a ball-fake and drive for a bucket. Hertle got to the foul line, sinking both tries.
Schoen, inside two minutes to play, missed the front end of a bonus situation. Not sulking, Schoen stepped forward to quickly grab the rebound and lay in the second chance, putting South Central within one, 41-40.
‘Getting the offensive rebound on the free throw he shot, that was a big play,’ Robinson said. ‘There was a point in time after that where we thought, ‘We could pull this off’.’
With 48 ticks left, Borden’s Jacob Robinson knocked down a pair of free throws after grabbing a defensive board.
Down three, South Central had several chances to even the score. Tries from beyond the arc by Lucas Stewart and Boyd were off target. Another offensive board eventually led to Hertle making a deuce.
South Central fouled Noah Franklin with 7.7 seconds left. He made one of two free-throws, giving the Rebels more hope. A hand-off from Miller to Schoen allowed the latter to split defenders for a floating one-handed try in the lane. The shot fell off the rim to Hertle, who couldn’t put in a contested put-back.
‘With 48 seconds to go, we told them we didn’t need a 3 because we had plenty of time and time-outs left,’ coach Robinson said. ‘We wanted to get a ball in the rim then foul. Twenty seconds later we ended up with a two. I told them, if you get a good look at it, go for it. I thought Lucas’ look at the top of the key was pretty good with no one on him. It didn’t go in, but we have to understand to stick it back in quick.’
Schoen was efficient from the field, going 7 of 10 for 16 points. He also had eight rebounds, two assists and a pair of blocked shots. From beyond the arc, South Central struggled, going 1 of 14.
Hertle closed with 10 points, while Summers had eight. Stewart didn’t reach the scoring column but had five boards.
‘Our kids gave a great effort tonight,’ Robinson said. ‘I need for them to give a great effort every night. I need it every day in practice, every quarter in a game. We’ve got to correct some shooting problems.’
Robinson said Borden’s press defense gave his team some issues at times during the game.
‘I’ll put the press on me,’ he said. ‘We spent some time working on our press. We should probably be ready to be pressed every game, but (Borden) isn’t very deep so we didn’t expect them to come out and press us like they did.’
Borden’s top scorer was McNew with 17 points, while Robinson added 11.
The Rebels will return to action Friday when they head to Christian Academy of Indiana for a 7:30 p.m. tip.
Borden 6 10 19 9 ‘ 44
South Central 8 6 4 24 ‘ 42
Borden (3-2, 1-1 SAC) ‘ McNew 17, Robinson 11, Rippy 7, N. Franklin 5, M. Franklin 4.
South Central (1-3, 0-1) ‘ Schoen 16, Hertle 10, Summers 8, Boyd 5, Tyree 2, Miller 1.
3-point goals ‘ Borden 4 (McNew 2, Rippy 2); South Central 1 (Boyd).