Jimtown rally comes up just short

Preston Phillips

ELKHART — Even after 21 turnovers through three quarters and a double-digit deficit, Jimtown's boys basketball team refused to do down quietly in Thursday's Northern Indiana Conference boys basketball game against No. 10-ranked (Class 4A) South Bend Adams.

But a 7-2 run in the final 1:01 eventually propelled the Eagles to a 62-55 win. 

JImtown, which trailed 51-38 with 4:40 remaining, pulled within 55-53 after getting two free throws from Braydon Rice with 1:27 left on the clock.

"With this group we're never out of a game," said Jimtown coach Matt Schauss, whose team fell to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the NIC. "They believe when they're down 12 that it doesn't matter. We have guys that can make plays and can make some shots. 

"We didn't play close to the type of basketball that we're capable of playing, but we still gave ourselves a chance to win at the end."

Preston Phillips led the way in the Jimmies' rally. The 6-foot-7 senior scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. Three straight baskets from Phillips, including a 3-pointer, helped Jimtown cut Adams' deficit to 53-45 with 3:30 remaining. The deficit shrunk to 55-51 after Phillips connected on a 3-pointer with 2:47 left in the contest. 

"We've talked this whole season that he's got to be a little bit more selfish," Schauss said about Phillips. "He's got to take some shots that might be bad for somebody else, but not bad for him. He got aggressive tonight. He's got a great shot. He battled. Preston didn't come out of the game at all tonight. I'm extremely proud of him."

The Eagles took a 56-53 lead with 1:01 showing on the clock after Brayden Saxton hit 1-of-2 free throws. After the second free-throw was missed, Sydney Jefferies grabbed a clutch offensive rebounds for Adams. Seven seconds later, the Eagles would get a basket from Quentez Columbus to up their advantage to 58-53. Jimtown would pull within 59-55 after a field goal from Braydon Rice with :30 left, but wouldn't get any closer.

"I'm really happy with the way we responded at the end," said Adams coach Chad Johnston. "(Jimtown) got us to turn the ball over a little bit. That's a good team. They have five or six seniors and their coach does a good job."

Five turnovers by the Eagles in the fourth quarter helped Jimtown jump back into the game.

After three quarters, Adams led 42-33, with much of its offense generated by its defense, The Eagles had 13 steals through 24 minutes and many of those turnovers turned into baskets.

"They weren't just turnovers," Schauss said. "They were turnovers that led to baskets. They probably had 20 points off our turnovers, at least."

Man, zone, along with half-court and full-court trap defenses helped the Eagles slow down the Jimmies offensively.  

"They're obviously good defensively," Schauss said. "They're quick and active and use their hands really well. But some of that was uncharacteristic stuff by us, like leaving our feet to make a pass, and not flashing hard middle and being ready to make a catch strong."

Struggles at the free-throw line also hurt Jimtown. The Jimmies shot only 58-percent (11-19) from the line, including 3-of-8 in the fourth quarter. 

Adams was solid at the line (13-of-19) and made 54-percent of its shots (24-of-44). 

"We missed a lot of easy shots in the first half," Johnston said. "I liked our shot selection. We weren't taking bad shots."

Saxton scored 19 points, Lynn King added 16 and Columbus had 12 to lead the Eagles. 

Bill Pawlak made four 3-pointers as part of his 16 points for Jimtown. 

It was the fourth game in seven days for the Jimmies, who will play again on Saturday at Fairfield. 

"We play seven guys and our main five play a lot of minutes," Schauss said. "I trust them to tell me when they're tired. But I've got guys who want to play and guys that can still make plays all 32 minutes." 




ADAMS: Brayden Saxton 8 3-4 19, Sydney Jefferies 1 4-5 6, Lynn King 7 1-2 16, Quentez Columbus 4 4-6 12, Jessie Morgan 0 0-0 0, Chuck Worsham 3 1-2 7, Harry Jeffers 0 0-0 0, TeVaughn Columbus 1 0-0 2, Kryin McClatchey 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-44 (.545), 13-19 (.684), 62. 

JIMTOWN: Preston Phillips 7 6-10 23, Clay Campbell 3 1-4 7, Braydon Rice 2 4-5 9, Blake Garretson 0 0-0 0, Bill Pawlak 6 0-0 16, Hunter Konrath 0 0-0 0, Beau Barhams 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-41 (.439), 11-19 (.578), 55.



3-point goals: Adams (1) - King; Jimtown (8) - Pawlak 4, Phillips 3, Rice. Rebounds: Adams (21) - Saxton 6, King 5, Q. Columbus 5; Jimtown (25) - Phillips 10, Garretson 4. Turnovers: Adams 14, Jimtown 22. Steals: Adams (13) - King 4, Jefferies 4; Jimtown (6) - Phillips 2, Rice 2. Total fouls: Adams 21, Jimtown 18. Fouled out - Garretson. Records: Adams 6-0 (3-0 NIC), Jimtown 4-2 (2-1 NIC). JV: Adams 42, Jimtown 37.

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