Fourth quarter still tough on Elkhart Central boys basketball

For the third straight game, the Blazers lose to a conference opponent by two points or less.

Posted on Feb. 22, 2014 at 12:34 a.m.

ELKHART — For three quarters, Elkhart Central built towards a thrilling senior night upset win over South Bend St. Joseph.

Treyton Harris and Langston Johnson were lethal from behind the arc, netting four triplets a piece. Derald Gray and Tre Taylor crashed the boards, grabbing nine rebounds each.

Struggling to find momentum early, Central hit four 3-pointers in a row to fight back within one point of the Indians at the half.

The Blazers came out of halftime hot, posting 20 points in the third quarter and surging ahead by as many as 14. Defensively, they kept St. Joseph's Keaton Wieschhaus quiet after he scored 13 of the Indians' first 17 points.

But the fourth quarter, which has been the Blazers' Achilles Heel all season, tripped them up once again.

St. Joseph amped up its press, forcing the Blazers into sloppy mistakes and hurried shots. The silky-smooth 3-point shooting and the gritty rebounding stopped too.

"We have to keep reiterating our fake passes and spacing and not picking up our dribble in trap zones, and we did all three of those things," coach Troy Noble said. "We played on our heels instead of our toes."

Up 51-37 with just under two minutes to play in the third quarter, Central could not close out the game. Down by two with 0.9 seconds left on the clock, Central tossed up a cross-court pass that St. Joseph harmlessly swatted away.

The Indians (14-5, 6-2 Northern Indiana Conference) went on to win 63-61.

"I'm proud of our kids' heart, but we have to execute a little better," Noble said. "They played like seniors and we played like sophomores in crunch time."

Whatever had been working for Central (5-13, 1-7 NIC) in the third quarter started to favor St. Joseph. The Indians made three of their last four free throws after shooting 10-24 from the line. They also netted two fourth-quarter 3-pointers after only scoring twice from behind the arc in the first three quarters.

Harris finished with a team-high 15 points, while Johnson scored 12. Central finished 9-for-24 from behind the arc.

The Blazers wrap up conference play with three straight losses by two points or less. The heart has been there, Noble said. The finishing moves are not.

"We may be a five-win team right now, but I think this team can do something in the sectional if we compete like we have the last three games," he said. "We just need a consistent play for a full four quarters."

SB St. Joseph 63, Elkhart Central 61

St. Joseph — Greenan Sullivan 2-8 2-2 8, Matt Gergely 5-7 3-4 14, Matt Monserez 6-12 1-2 14, Keaton Wieschhaus 6-12 7-10 19, Ryan Wobbe 2-6 0-5 4, Anthony Smiley -4 0-2 0, Mark Madden 2-4 0-2 4 . Totals: 22-50 (.440) 13-28 (.464) 63.

Central — Genoris Crawford 0-0 0-0 0, Jaron Walters 0-3 1-2 1, Tre Taylor 2-8 0-0 5, Shaneal Mackey 1-3 0-0 2, Derald Gray 4-5 0-0 8, Antwaan Allen 1-3 1-2 3, Treyton Harris 5-10 1-2 15, Langston Johnson 4-14 0-0 12, Cornell Conner 1-4 0-0 2, Aaron Flax 5-7 1-1 11, Clinton Parker 1-2 0-0 2, . Totals: 24-59 (.407) 4-7 (.571) 61.

Scoring By Quarters

St. Joseph — 17 17 12 17 — 63

Central — 15 18 20 8 — 61

3-point goals: St. Joseph (4-10) — Sullivan 2, Gergely, Monserez; Central (9-24) — Johnson 4, Harris 4, Taylor.

Rebounds: St. Joseph (31) — Wieschhaus 7; Central (33) — Taylor 9, Gray 9.

Steals: St. Joseph (3) - Gergely 2; Central (4)..

Turnovers: St. Joseph 7, Central 14.

Total fouls: St. Joseph 10, Central 18.

Records: St. Joseph 14-5 (6-2 Northern Indiana Conference); Central 5-13 (1-7 NIC).

Next: Elkhart Christian at Central Tuesday, Feb. 25.

JV: St. Joseph 40, Central 30. Top scorers: St. Joseph— Brendan Chappell 9, John Byszewski 9, Sammy Quinn 9; Central — Quincey Washington 12.



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