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Southwood smothers Maconaquah to earn TRC title

BY TRENT SCOTT - tscott@perutribune.com

 LA FONTAINE – It was billed as the TRC boys’ basketball title game. 

By the end of the evening, it looked less a titanic clash a more a routine night for Southwood as the A No. 5 Knights took down Maconaquah in straight-forward fashion 68-41. 

Braves’ head coach Tim Maiben said the Southwood defense made life tough all night for the team. 

“(Southwood) ramped up the pressure more than they normally do,” Maiben said. “They were one step ahead of us most of the night and we had way too many turnovers. 

“They’re a better shooting team than us so we wanted to limit the number of possessions and get some offensive rebounds but they took it to us in both of those categories.” 

The game got off to a slow start as both teams tried to impose their defense on the other, leading to a solitary basket being scored in the first three minutes. 

Carson Blair finally got the game going with a deep three, followed by a second to give the hosts a 12-6 lead.

 Ethan Larason answered with a trey for the visitors but a reply from Ethen Roberts and baskets from Dallas Holmes and Blair gave Southwood a 19-9 lead. 

Maiben said the team didn’t get many shots to fall early but didn’t do enough to create extra chances. 

“We could have done a better job of crashing the boards, especially during the early stretch of the game,” Maiben noted. “It was important for us to get multiple looks at the basket. 

“Had we done that, we wouldn’t have been down 10 points, instead more like two or four points. We had several finishes that just wouldn’t go down and once you get down like that, it’s hard to come back against a team like that.” 

Larason scored the last basket of the first period and Chandler Pitts opened the second quarter with a basket to trim the gap to 19-13, only for Blair to connect with another three to stretch the lead back out to nine. 

The lead stood at 29-19 when Pitts picked up his third foul and the Knights took advantage with an 8-2 burst in the final two minutes to take a 35-21 lead into halftime. 

Unlike last week, the starters not named Pitts and Larason were missing in the scoring department as Chance Hagan and Bryce Ward had two points each, the only points either would score in the game. 

Maiben said the defensive pressure the Knights used had as big a mental effect as did physical. 

“Peru has a version of pressure that we were able to replicate in practice but we couldn’t do the same with Southwood’s,” Maiben said. “There are two types of players when they’re pressure and we didn’t see the natural fight back against the pressure we were seeing. 

“We have to get the guys to be a bit more physical in order to move the ball and even physical enough to not let teams knock the ball out of our hands.” 

Matt Nose opened the second half with a drive before eight-straight points from Blair, Peyton Trexler and Holmes pushed the lead to 20 at 45-25. 

Maconaquah was stuck trying to get past the Southwood press and having little success, turning the ball over seemingly anytime they looked to be building momentum. 

The Knights were always ready to take advantage, maintaining a 20-point cushion going into the fourth quarter where the lead was stretched out to 25 following a Nose three and, at its peak, 27 following a Trexler layup and following the final basket of the game by Luke Winer. 

Maconaquah suffered its first TRC loss of the year and barring an unprecedented collapse from Southwood will finished second in the conference standings.

 After facing Pioneer Saturday, Maconaquah faces Northfield Tuesday with Maiben needing the team to dig in physically in the remaining games of the season.

 “We’ve got to make sure we’re willing to play physical in the remaining games,” Maiben said. “We’ve got to show that we’re willing to fight back otherwise that will be a good strategy for teams to use.”

 

At Southwood

 

Maconaquah 11 10 10 10 — 41 

Southwood 19 16 16 17 — 68 

Scoring 

Maconaquah — Larason 17, Pitts 12, Middlekauff 8, Hagan 2, Ward 2, Koebler 0, Myers 0, Bourne 0, Borden 0 

Southwood — Blair 19, Holmes 17, Trexler 16, Nose 9, Roberts 5, Winer 2, Lloyd 0, Perry 0, Simons 0, Barney 0 

Next Game: Maconaquah (11-5, 5-1 TRC) hosts Northfield (5-12, 2-5 TRC) Tuesday at 6:15 p.m.