- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
Tigers shoot Breece past Saints
Jan 29, 2007 12:00 am
WATERTOWN — Watertown's 44-40 win over Mt. Juliet Christian was a Breece, not a breeze.
Freshman Justin Breece fired in five three-pointers on his way to 19 points to help propel the Purple Tigers to the come-from-behind win. His final triple broke a 37-37 tie with 1:35 left to finally put Watertown ahead to stay.
"Justin played his guts out," Watertown coach Bill Robinson said after his Purple Tigers won for the fourth time in their last five games [all over teams who beat them earlier] to improve to 8-14 for the season and 2-8 in District 8-A. "The whole team fought hard. It was just a question of we had trouble shooting. We just weren't putting the ball in the hole.
"Overall, we played with a lot of effort. I was pleased with how the kids tried to get the ball in the right place. We just couldn't score."
The Tigers couldn't score until the fourth quarter when Watertown, which lost at MJCA 60-43 Dec. 7, reeled off 10 straight points to turn a 34-27 deficit into a 37-34 lead. Aaron Fountain, who finished with 11 points despite being the target of a box-and-one defense, started the rally with one of his two three-pointers. Center John Kneisel, another focal point of Mt. Juliet Christian's defense who tossed in all 10 of his points after halftime, scored back-to-back baskets to tie the score before Breece buried a three to put the Purple ahead.
Victor Underwood, who overcame a slow outside shooting start to lead all scorers with 21, threw in one of his three second-half threes to bring Mt. Juliet Christian back into the tie.
"Watertown hit big shots all the way through," Mt. Juliet Christian coach Paul Christensen said after his Saints slipped to 10-12, 2-7. "No. 2 (Breece) hit key threes at the end of the game. We made a decision that if we were going to lose tonight, it wasn't going to be through Fountain or Kneisel. We made that decision early on. We did accomplish that goal. We had a box-and-one on Fountain and we marked Kneisel.
"Our kids played hard. They did what they needed to do. Watertown hit shots when they needed to hit them."
While Christensen used the box-and-one, Robinson countered with a 2-2-1 zone press which slowed the Saints, playing without point guard Bryce Middleton, who doesn't play on Friday nights for religious reasons [this was the Saints' only scheduled Friday game].
"[The press hurt us] more than it should have," Christensen said. "We usually do a good job with breaking a zone press down. But we made a few turnovers ourselves that they didn't force. And we made them at the wrong time of the game.
"Our kids gave effort tonight. But we just made some dumb mistakes."
Robinson said, "Our press was crucial for us. I thought a lot of kids came up big in a lot of different ways. They just kept scrambling and finally got enough to get ahead."
The Saints were the ones ahead almost the entire first half. Underwood scored a pair of inside baskets to lift the visitors to an 8-3 first-quarter lead.
Watertown finally caught Mt. Juliet Christian 17-17 on two Fountain free throws 20.5 seconds before halftime. It left enough time for big man Blake Marsh, who muscled in 11 points off the bench, to score from the baseline before the buzzer to sent the Saints into halftime ahead by two.
The third quarter was back and forth with the lead changing hands with each score as Marsh scored six during the period. Underwood's three-pointer finally gave Mt. Juliet Christian a little separation 30-26 going into the fourth.
Underwood hit a pair of driving layups to lift the Saints to the seven-point lead in the fourth, their largest of the night.
Levi Tschaekofske tossed in two points for the Purple Tigers while Dalton Phillips flipped in a free throw.
Jonathan Roberts threw in three points for Mt. Juliet Christian while Austin Wortman and Zach Womble each tossed in two and Trey McNeil a free throw as the Saints sank just 3 of 10 from the line.
Mt. Juliet Christian will host district rival Gordonsville on Monday. Watertown will try to continue its late-season surge Tuesday when Friendship Christian comes in.
"There's been a lot of times down this road these kids could have rolled it up," Robinson said. "But they've been coming in every day, working hard, practicing hard and they finally understand what they have to do to win ballgames."
Gordonsville hands Friendship first district loss
Friendship Christian coach Matt Bradshaw was not a happy camper after visiting Gordonsville handed his Commanders their first District 8-A loss of the year 65-61 Friday at the Sportsplex.
Center Michael Teeter fell into early foul trouble and spent much of the game sitting next to Bradshaw, watching the Tigers' Josh Harris hit five three-pointers on his way to 17 points.
"We haven't guarded him yet," Bradshaw said of Harris after Friendship fell to 14-5 for the season and 6-1 in the district. "Gordonsville played a heck of a ballgame. Their coaches did an outstanding job of preparing them and their kids were ready to play.
"We did not come with the energy level they did. We did not do a good job defensively at all."
Center Jake Dillard dropped in 18 points while Bryce Randolph racked up 10 as the Tigers pulled even with Friendship at 6-1 in the district. The Commanders won at Gordonsville earlier this month.
The teams were tied 16-16 through the first quarter before Friendship moved in front 29-25 at halftime. Gordonsville carried a 52-47 lead into the fourth period.
John Hatcher hit two three-pointers to help keep the Commanders in the game with a game-high 20 points while Garrett McKnight threw in 13, Teeter 12, John Doak 10 and Adam Stephens six.
Friendship will try to right the ship in time for a Tuesday night trip to resurgent Watertown.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at email@example.com.