ELKHART — It took Elkhart Memorial a full three quarters to get warmed up, but once the Crimson Chargers got there, they — and Dimitri Giger in particular — were scalding.
The Chargers scored more points in the fourth period — 27 — than they did the rest of the game — 26 — while beating Concord 53-46 in each team’s Northern Lakes Conference boys basketball opener Friday, Dec. 20, at North Side Gym.
Giger poured in 24 of his career-high 28 points in the second half, including 16 in the fourth period.
Memorial was just 11 of 38 from the field through three quarters for 29 percent and hadn’t attempted a free throw.
Yet, in the fourth quarter, the Chargers (2-2, 1-0) went 6-of-9 from the field and 15-of-17 from the line — including 12-of-12 by Giger.
While Memorial finally was heating up, the Minutemen (1-2, 0-1) were staying fairly cold, a condition that afflicted them all evening as they finished at just 30 percent from the field.
They also had 18 turnovers to the hosts’ 14.
“Some of that shooting by both teams was hard to watch,” Charger coach Mark Barnhizer said, “but Dimitri stepped up and had a great second half, and A.J. (Gary) hit some big shots.”
Gary’s 12-footer from the left baseline gave Memorial its largest lead since the opening quarter at 36-33 and Giger followed that with a pair of free throws for a 38-33 count with 3:33 left.
Concord could get no closer than three points the rest of the way — though they were that close as late as 17 seconds remaining — thanks to Giger hitting 8-of-8 at the stripe over the final 36 seconds.
“For us to win, we have to play well the full game, and we’re getting about half a game out of a lot of the kids right now, which you’ll sometimes see with inexperience,” Minutemen coach Steve Austin said. “We did a decent job for a while, but once people got tired, they got lazy.”
Senior Ramon Johnson tried to lift Concord through its troubles, scoring a team-high 21 points, grabbing seven rebounds and making four steals. Juniors Filip Serwatka and Brett Austin divided 18 points and 17 rebounds about evenly.
It kind of ended up being Ramon Johnson vs. Dimitri Giger for a while,” Barnhizer said. “Those were the two guys, and at the end, it was kind of, which one is going to make the most plays? I do think there were positives for both teams, but it’s kind of hard to see them when the shooting’s that poor.”
Gary scored 12 points for the Chargers.