Johnson’s grown into the engine that makes Concord go

Notches 25 points, six assists in latest outing as Minutemen move to 6-3.
Posted on Jan. 15, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 15, 2014 at 12:26 a.m.

DUNLAP — Ramon Johnson is the little engine that can for the Concord Minutemen, plus, he’s not that little anymore.

Relatively speaking, anyway.

Johnson carved up South Bend Clay with game-highs of 25 points and six assists as the Minutemen sailed past the Colonials 71-43 in boys high school basketball Tuesday, Jan. 14, at McCuen Gym.

“He does so much for us,” Concord coach Steve Austin said of his 5-foot-9 point guard. “He’s scoring, he’s getting assists, but he’s also getting us out of trouble when we’re a little off our game, and he’s creating havoc, not only with steals, but when he does something to force the other team to throw the ball away. He’s doing some stuff you can’t teach, and it’s been fun to watch him come into his own.”

And to watch him grow. Some might’ve guessed he was a junior-high or even a grade-school kid who snuck out there when Johnson first stepped onto the varsity court as a wispy, baby-faced freshman.

“They put 5-foot or 5-1 in the program, but I was really 4-11,” Johnson said Tuesday. “And I remember I wasn’t really 100 pounds; about 98.”

Now he’s reasonably bulked up to go with his 5-9 listing, and his game has grown even more.

“I knew eventually it would come,” Johnson said of a growth spurt height-wise, “but if it didn’t, I would just have to play with more heart. And I do think small guys very often work harder.”

Johnson has the Minutemen (6-3) working well.

Tuesday’s win was their fourth in five games, and their second straight in convincing fashion, after last weekend’s 58-37 victory over Goshen.

“It’s really important,” Johnson said of his job to get everybody involved. “It’s going to take all five people. One person can’t do it himself, but once you get everybody going, you start rolling and everything falls in place.”

More might fall into place for Concord soon.

Austin said after the game that the Minutemen could have senior two-year starter Adam Glanders back as early as the Jan. 24 contest with Warsaw, after Glanders was originally expected to miss the season due to a hip injury that had hampered him in football.

Initially, Glanders was expected to need two surgeries on his hip, according to Austin, but it was determined just before Christmas that he would need just one, which he underwent Dec. 23.

“He’s been going through some (drills), not contact, but plays and ball-handling,” Austin said. “We even thought the doctor might release him last week, and I think he was depressed when it didn’t happen, but we are pumped for when we do get him. It will make a difference depth-wise to get a two-year starter back.”

As it was, Concord was ultimately dominant without any additions Tuesday.

The Minutemen led Clay (3-8) just 32-27 early in the third quarter, but then erupted on a 13-1 run and steadily pulled further away from there.

Johnson shot 9-of-16 from the field with three 3-pointers and 4-of-4 at the line for his 25 points.

Brett Austin added 15 points for the second straight game, matching his career high, and collected seven rebounds for the winners, while fellow junior Filip Serwatka tallied 14 points and grabbed a game-high 10 boards.

Korey Phillips contributed three blocked shots and two steals off the bench.

“We gotta get better defensively, our blocking out can get better, and we had some turnovers, but I was pretty pleased,” Austin said. “We’re still young and we’re still growing as a team. I think we’re going to keep getting better.”

As a bonus Tuesday, while the personnel has changed significantly on both sides, the Minutemen did beat the program that handed them their only regular-season loss last season.

The Colonials, in fact, had beaten Concord three straight years, despite the Minutemen going on to the decisively better record each year.

Concord 71, SB Clay 43

Clay — Dion Harris 3-9 2-5 8, Martavious Richmond 3-15 3-4 9, T.J. Hursey 3-6 0-0 8, Sherard Cosey 4-9 1-2 10, Tim Washington 0-1 0-0 0, Jalen Clark 0-4 0-0 0, D’Ante Franklin 0-1 0-0 0, Justin Packingham 2-4 0-0 5, Santos Kramer 0-0 0-0 0, Thaias Burris 1-2 0-0 3, Traylen Simpson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 16-52 (.308) 6-11 (.545) 43.

Concord — Brett Austin 7-13 1-1 15, Filip Serwatka 6-13 2-3 14, Danny McMahon 1-2 0-0 2, Jaylyn Danner 1-1 0-0 2, Ramon Johnson 9-16 4-4 25, Jake Kronk 3-4 0-0 6, Korey Phillips 0-0 1-2 1, Matt Wilmore 1-2 0-1 2, Marvell Danner 0-0 1-2 1, Austin Danner 0-0 0-0 0, Dylan Troyer 0-0 0-0 0, Cedric Mitchell 1-1 1-3 3, Denzel Halliburton 0-1 0-0 0, David Small 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 29-53 (.547) 10-16 (.625) 71.

Scoring By Quarters

Clay 12 11 9 11 — 43

Concord 14 16 19 22 — 71

3-point goals: Clay (5-17) — Hursey 2-5, Burris 1-1, Packingham 1-2, Cosey 1-4; Concord (3-15) — Johnson 3-6.

Rebounds: Clay (32) — Harris 6, Richmond 6, Cosey 6, Hursey 5; Concord (35) — Serwatka 10, Austin 7.

Assists: Clay (10) — Richmond 4; Concord (21) — Johnson 6, McMahon 4, Austin 3, Serwatka 3.

Steals: Clay (7) — Richmond 2, Washington 2; Concord (9) — Serwatka 2, J.Danner 2, Phillips 2.

Turnovers: Clay 19, Concord 17.

Fouls: Clay 19, Concord 12. Fouled out — none.

Officials: Mark Sewell, Valparaiso; Kevin Mikesell, Lowell; Joe Gawor, Crown Point.

Records: Clay 3-8, Concord 6-3.

Next: Concord at Plymouth Friday, Jan. 17; Crown Point at Clay Saturday, Jan. 18.

JV: Concord 55, Clay 20. Top scorers: Concord — Dylan Troyer 13, Tyrone Gilbert 9, Austin Danner 8, Cedric Mitchell 8; Clay — Santos Kramer 6, Courtland Mayes 5. JV record: Concord 4-5.

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