ELKHART — His Twitter handle is @RMoney03. It fits.
On Tuesday, March 4, in the opening round of the Class 4A Elkhart Sectional, Ramon Johnson's performance was money, too.
Johnson scored 23 points, distributed six assists and snatched three steals, all game highs, as Concord raced by Elkhart Memorial 70-53 at North Side Gym.
"It was just energy," Johnson said of what propelled the Minutemen. "We didn’t carry it over for a while in the second half, but once they got us with some energy of their own, we picked it back up."
"Ramon gets us going," Concord coach Steve Austin said of his 5-foot-9 senior point guard. "Sometimes a little too much, but when he is going, he makes us look so much better. He sees things and does things sometimes you can't teach, and sometimes it's too fancy, but a lot of times, it's good, and when it's good, it's very good."
The Minutemen (13-8) owned a very good 49-25 lead by two minutes into the third period, but the Crimson Chargers (8-13) started chipping away.
They rallied to as close as 56-49 three minutes into the fourth quarter, but in a game of spurts for both sides, Concord ruled from there, going on a 12-0 spree to win convincingly.
"That was the one negative, the way (Memorial) got back into it, but we answered the call, and that’s the sign of a pretty good team," Austin said. "We didn’t panic, didn’t lose the lead. I was very pleased with what I saw tonight."
The Minutemen reversed a 53-46 loss to the Chargers that came early in the regular season.
Now they'll try to reverse a late-season 62-59 loss at Northridge when they meet the No. 17-ranked Raiders (18-2) in Friday’s opening semifinal.
"We'll have to do the little things, such as box out, stay in position," Johnson said of the rematch with the Raiders. "Our offense is looking pretty good. We gotta keep that going."
In the course of it going well against the Chargers, that offense was fueled in no small part by the defense.
The Minutemen came up with a dozen steals, many of them triggering easy transition baskets on a night that Memorial finished with 18 turnovers to the winners' 10.
"Some of those (steals) were just because we were in good position, not just going for steals," Austin said. "There were a couple more I thought we could've had, but we were so worried about position that we didn't anticipate well on those. I think we did a really good job with team defense tonight."
"In the third quarter, we had them a little uncomfortable because we were taking care of the ball and attacking better," Charger coach Mark Barnhizer said, "but then we threw it away a couple times. When you're down, you can't turn it over for layups. It negates all the stuff you did to get back in the game."
Memorial jumped to a quick 9-4 lead, draining 3-pointers on each of its first three possessions, but then Concord largely abandoned its 2-3 zone the rest of the way in favor of a man-to-man.
The Chargers trailed just 14-13 after the opening quarter, but the Minutemen were next to flawless in the second period. They outscored Memorial 26-10, without a single turnover in the quarter.
Sharp-shooting Concord finished at 52 percent from the field overall, converted 5-of-7 on 3-pointers — including 3-of-3 by @RMoney03 — and was nearly perfect at the line with 21-of-22.
Junior Filip Serwatka scored 17 points and went 7-of-11 from the field for the winners. Senior Adam Glanders added 13 points, and both he and Serwatka joined Johnson in making three steals. Junior Brett Austin added nine points, five rebounds, two steals and induced a pair of charging fouls.
Senior Tray Qualls led the Chargers with 19 points. Junior Cameron Maxwell added 18 points, five assists and three steals, while junior Dimitri Giger netted eight points to go with game highs of seven rebounds and three blocked shots before fouling out with 3:21 remaining.
"We played a lot of underclassmen this year, and hopefully the kids learned some things," Barnhizer said. "We'll find out next season if we've learned what it takes."
4A ELKHART SECTIONAL
CONCORD 70, ELKHKART MEMORIAL 53
Concord — Brett Austin 4-8 1-1 9, Danny McMahon 0-2 4-4 4, Filip Serwatka 7-11 2-2 17, Adam Glanders 4-7 4-4 13, Ramon Johnson 6-12 8-9 23, Jake Kronk 0-0 2-2 2, Korey Phillips 1-1 0-0 2, Matt Wilmore 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Danner 0-0 0-0 0, Dylan Troyer 0-0 0-0 0, Marvell Danner 0-1 0-0 0, Cedric Mitchell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 22-42 (.524) 21-22 (.955) 70.
Memorial — Dimitri Giger 3-6 2-4 8, Tray Qualls 7-15 2-2 19, Rashad Murphy 2-3 0-0 4, Cameron Maxwell 5-11 5-7 18, Deante Dalton 0-1 0-0 0, A.J. Gary 2-4 0-0 4, Michael O’Toole 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Jon Bailey 0-0 0-0 0, Chris Kale 0-0 0-0 0, Mikal McGuire 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 19-40 (.475) 9-13 (.692) 53.
Scoring By Quarters
Concord — 14 26 13 17 — 70
Memorial — 13 10 19 11 — 53
3-point goals: Concord (5-7) — Johnson 3-3, Glanders 1-1, Serwatka 1-2; Memorial (6-13) —Maxwell 3-5, Qualls 3-7.
Rebounds: Concord (21) — Austin 5, Glanders 5; Memorial (24) — Giger 7, Qualls 5.
Assists: Concord (17) — Johnson 6, McMahon 4, Glanders 4; Memorial (14) — Dalton 6, Maxwell 5.
Steals: Concord (12) — Serwatka 3, Glanders 3, Johnson 3, Austin 2; Memorial (5) — Maxwell 3.
Turnovers:Concord 10, Memorial 18.
Total fouls: Concord 14, Memorial 20. Fouled out — Dalton (4:02, 4th quarter), Giger (3:21, 4th).
Officials: Jay Smith, Trent Beer, Cay Schnick.
Records: Concord 13-8, Memorial 8-13.
Next: Concord vs. Northridge Friday, March 7, in 4A Elkhart Sectional semifinals, 6 p.m., followed by Goshen vs. Elkhart Central.