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congratz Jason Grooms



Dose of Doslak caps off Penn’s narrow win for NIC title

Jackson shines, but fellow ND recruit Torres registers big numbers, too, to go with Kingsmen's 60-56 win.
Posted on Feb. 15, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 16, 2013 at 12:16 a.m.

MISHAWAKA — That which was never easy still ultimately wound up free.

The Penn Kingsmen earned a share of the Northern Indiana Conference title with a rugged-throughout 60-56 boys basketball victory over Marian as an energized crowd of about 3,000 fans looked on Friday, Feb. 15, at the Penn Palace.

The Kingsmen wrapped up the game by going 12-of-14 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, including sophomore Billy Doslak’s clinching 2-for-2 trip with 5.2 seconds remaining for what proved the final count.

The contest featured the showdown of Notre Dame recruits Austin Torres for Penn and McDonald’s All-American Demetrius Jackson for Marian, and neither disappointed.

Torres, playing all 32 minutes, tallied 18 points to go with game highs of 13 rebounds and six blocked shots — two of them on his future Irish teammate — while Jackson netted a game-high 26 points to go with 11 boards, four assists and three steals.

Penn (14-4) closed at 7-1 in the NIC to tie South Bend Adams — a 79-59 winner Friday over South Bend Clay — for the league crown. It’s the Kingsmen’s first NIC title since 2007, and the Eagles’ first since 1989.

“(Adams is) very deserving, and we are, too,” Penn coach Al Rhodes said. “We had to go beat them at their place. We really had to go earn it after a tough loss to Riley.”

The Knights (9-9, 3-5) suffered their third straight defeat, but Marian coach Robb Berger was encouraged.

“We really liked our effort. That’s something we preached,” Berger said. “We didn’t play with much effort (during a two-overtime loss to LaVille) Tuesday night down in Lakeville. The big thing for us was battling for 32 minutes against a quality opponent and I think we did that.”

The Kingsmen went ahead for good at 46-45 early in the fourth quarter — the seventh lead change of the night to go with five ties — as Jordan Geist scored on a fast-break feed from fellow sophomore Nate Miller.

The hosts’ advantage was 57-51 with 19 seconds remaining, but Jackson scored on a drive with 12 ticks left to narrow it to 57-53. A Doslak 1-for-2 trip to the line made it 58-53, before Jackson answered with a running 3-pointer at 7.4 seconds showing. Then Doslak nailed his aforementioned final pair of free throws.

“We started with four turnovers (on the first four possessions) tonight,” Rhodes said. “Early in the year, that would’ve done us in, but we’ve developed a lot of toughness as we’ve gone along. And we did a nice job making free throws. The last four or five games, we’ve done that. We get a lead, hold the ball and do a nice job (at the line).”

“It feels great. I appreciate the honor of winning the NIC,” Torres said. “I thought my teammates did a great job.”

Torres, a 6-foot-7 post player, downplayed his pseudo matchup with Jackson, a 6-1 point guard. After all, the two friends and AAU teammates were rarely hooked up head-to-head, though each did steal the ball from the other once.

“He played an outstanding game,” Torres said of Jackson, “and I thought I played an outstanding game, but it’s never me versus anybody. It’s always Penn versus an opponent. We’re one team and that’s what I look at.”

“Bittersweet,” Jackson said of facing Torres. “I’m happy I’ll be on the same team with him the way he’s blocking shots and stuff, but at the same time, right now, this is my team, so I just wanted to win for my team and the Marian community.”

The Knights led for most of the first two-plus quarters, but never by more than six, the last time at 38-32 early in the third period.

The Kingsmen answered that with a 12-3 surge that included a four-point play by Conner Sowders, who was fouled as he drained a triple.

Marian’s final lead came at 45-44 on Jackson’s rebound bucket to start the fourth quarter.

Sowders tallied 12 points for Penn, while Geist finished with nine points, six rebounds and three assists.

Michael Whitfield scored 13 points for the Knights.

Devin Cannady added nine points and seven boards — but the usual sharpshooter finished just 4 of 18 from the field, including 1 of 9 outside the arc.

The Kingsmen shot 45 percent from the field and 18 of 22 at the stripe to Marian’s 35 percent and 7 of 12, more than making up for the Knights’ slight edges in rebounding and turnover differential.

“I thought our individual defense was big the whole game,” Rhodes said.

Penn 60, Marian 56

Marian — Chris Stager 0-3 1-2 1, Michael Whitfield 5-11 1-2 13, Quron Marks 0-2 0-2 0, Devin Cannady 4-18 0-0 9, Demetrius Jackson 10-22 5-6 26, Jake Whitfield 2-4 0-0 5. Totals: 22-62 (.355) 7-12 (.583) 56.

Penn —Austin Torres 6-14 6-6 18, Cory Kreiger 2-3 2-2 7, Christian Wittendorf 3-5 0-0 6, Conner Sowders 3-7 3-3 12, Jordan Geist 3-8 3-4 9, Mikey Szrom 2-3 1-3 5, Ryan Lutz 0-1 0-0 0, Billy Doslak 0-1 3-4 3, Nate Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-42 (.452) 18-22 (.818) 60.

Scoring By Quarters

Marian 16 18 9 13 — 56

Penn 13 19 12 16 — 60

3-point goals: Marian (5-22) — M.Whitfield 2-4, J.Whitfield 1-3, Jackson 1-5, Cannady 1-9; Penn (4-7) — Sowders 3-5, Kreiger 1-1.

Rebounds: Marian (36) — Jackson 11, Cannady 7; Penn (32) — Torres 13, Geist 6.

Assists: Marian (8) — Jackson 4, Cannady 2; Penn (12) — Geist 3, Torres 2, Szrom 2, Lutz 2, Miller 2.

Steals: Marian (9) — Jackson 3, Cannady 2, Whitten 2; Penn (5) — 5 with 1 each.

Turnovers: Marian 13, Penn 16.

Fouls: Marian 20, Penn 13. Fouled out — none.

Officials: Tim Smith, Mentone; Jay Smith, Pierceton; Mark McCammon, Granger.

Records: Marian 9-9 (3-5 NIC), Penn 14-4 (7-1 NIC).

Next: Marian at Bremen, Niles (Mich.) at Penn, both Tuesday.

JV: Penn 51, Marian 49. Top scorers: Penn — Trey Burns 19, Camden Bohn 19; Marian — Ryan Schafer 14, Matt Royeca 11, Anthony Blum 10. JV records: Penn 12-6, Marian 12-5.


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