Grinding Rebels upend Eagles
In the final 60 seconds Friday night in Lanesville, the corner of the Eagles’ Nest stood up and applauded the grind-it-out nature the visiting South Central boys’ basketball team displayed.
Going on the road, South Central used a fast start to the second half, along with a steady defensive effort, to upend Southern Athletic Conference-rival Lanesville 46-41.
‘We’re a grind-it-out team,’ South Central coach Greg Robinson said. ‘We got them into a grind, and it worked out for us.’
Trailing by one point at the half, Robinson wanted his players to turn up the pressure and win the early stage of the third quarter. His team responded positively. Forcing turnovers, South Central was able to eventually generate field goals inside from Dylan Patterson, Brandon Summers and Wesley Wilson.
It ended up being an 8-0 start to the third quarter for South Central once Lucas Stewart knocked down a pair of free throws, giving the Rebels a 33-26 advantage.
‘We decided to go for it with our 1-3-1 trap,’ Robinson said of the third quarter. ‘It created some turnovers in the first four possessions. Our kids were sneaky quick to get some layups.’
‘When we were in the locker room, coach said the first three minutes will determine the outcome of the game,’ South Central’s Chase Schoen said. ‘We came out and stepped up.’
Lanesville’s Connor Nolot ended the streak with a field goal after teammate Justin Bailey picked off a pass. Nolot opened the game with Lanesville’s first seven points but missed part of the second quarter after rolling an ankle. After scoring 10 points in the opening half, Nolot finished with 12 points.
‘Connor turns his ankle in the second quarter and, when he came back, he wasn’t the same,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘There wasn’t lift to his shot. He couldn’t explode like he usually does. He played hard and tried to play through it.’
Lanesville didn’t go down without making a charge back. Off the bench, Jacob Wernert gave a spark with two points inside to make it 38-all with about five minutes to play. The junior then turned around and blocked a shot on the other end. The Eagles, however, couldn’t capitalize with points to take the lead.
‘He played great tonight and was really active on both ends,’ Miller said of Wernert. ‘He was pretty solid and got some nice rebounds.’
Wernert finished with eight rebounds and four blocks.
Chase Schoen put South Central back on top with a field goal midway through the fourth quarter. Soon, it was milk-the-clock time for the Rebels. Dylan Patterson, seemingly everywhere on the floor, made 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch. The junior stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and three assists.
‘He plays the point for us sometimes, and we can turn around and put him inside to post up,’ Robinson said of Patterson. ‘He can take the ball to the rim. His game is pretty wide and is a match-up problem for a lot of teams.’
It was great balance in scoring for the Rebels with Schoen scoring 12 points, Stewart 10 and Summers eight.
Inside the final minute, Lanesville had trouble holding on to possession with a pair of turnovers. Despite missing the front end of two one-and-ones, South Central’s defense answered the call on the other end.
‘We hang our reputation on our D,’ Robinson said. ‘I’m very proud of them because I don’t think we had one mix-up on our defensive changes tonight. We went with three half-court defenses and a full-court defense without any problems. In this kind of atmosphere and pressure, it was good to see.’
Outside of the opening quarter, Lanesville’s offense was held to single digits in the remaining three frames.
‘We haven’t shot well for three or four games now,’ Miller said. ‘A lot of settling for shots. I don’t think we moved the ball well at all. There was too much standing. When teams play zones like they do, they slow you down. We were hesitant on some passes and decisions tonight.’
Miller said among the things the squad will work on moving forward is ball movement, player movement and situational shot selection on offense.
‘The physical part of the game is something we didn’t match with them tonight,’ Miller said. ‘I thought our kids played hard, but there were some times where, if we are giving up second-chance offensive rebounds, you just have to play more physical.’
Tripp Dillion led the Eagles in scoring with 17 points. He had eight of Lanesville’s 15 second-half points.
Becoming more patient on offense after a high-scoring first quarter was what Robinson and the Rebels found success with. Then, it was closing out the game with defense and free throws.
‘We started running the clock with 2-1/2, three minutes to go because we had a five-point lead or so,’ Robinson said. ‘Overall, the kids did a really good job down the stretch. Guys stepped up and made some free throws. That’s what you need to do to win a game. This is a game we needed in a lot of ways. This will show us how we close out a hard-fought, close game. Both teams played really hard.’
The win moved the Rebels to 2-0 in SAC play with the remaining leauge games to be contested in Elizabeth.
‘It puts a lot of confidence in our head,’ Schoen said. ‘We know who (Lanesville) has already played and beat. We came off the North Harrison loss, to be honest, pretty down. We thought we should have had that one and some other games. This win puts us back up.’
With good balance, Robinson said his team now controls its destiny in league play.
‘We have some conference games left at home, which won’t be easy, but I told our kids we all worked really hard to get to this spot,’ Robinson said. ‘Now, we have to work hard every day to make sure we keep it.’
South Central 16 9 11 10 ‘ 46
Lanesville 18 8 6 9 ‘ 41
South Central (5-6, 2-0 SAC) ‘ Dylan Patterson 14, Chase Schoen 12, Lucas Stewart 10, Brandon Summers 8, Wesley Wilson 2.
Lanesville (7-4, 2-1) ‘ Tripp Dillion 17, Connor Nolot 12, Kevin DeSpain 5, Justin Bailey 4, Jacob Wernert 2, Jack Kaufer 1.
3-point goals ‘ South Central 3 (Summers 2, Stewart); Lanesville 3 (Nolot 2, Dillion).