Central boys snap five-game losing skid to Patriots

Posted 12/13/19

BEAR CREEK — When it comes to rematches in basketball, if you lost the first time around there’s nothing more satisfying than a good payback.

After suffering an 18-point defeat to Providence …

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Central boys snap five-game losing skid to Patriots

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BEAR CREEK — When it comes to rematches in basketball, if you lost the first time around there’s nothing more satisfying than a good payback.

After suffering an 18-point defeat to Providence Grove on the road 10 days earlier, Chatham Central was in no mood to let a 29-all halftime stalemate stand in its way as the Bears forged a double-digit lead six minutes into the third quarter and withstood a fourth-period Patriots’ comeback attempt before pulling away down the stretch to claim a 66-56 non-conference victory last week in Gerald L. Binkley Gymnasium.

Snapping a five-game losing streak to Providence Grove, Chatham Central evened its season ledger at 2-2, whereas the Patriots slipped to 3-3 for the year.

Michael Moore topped the Bears with 18 points, while Lucas Skertich chipped in 15 and Phillip Gaines added 12 as the winners shot 44% (24-of-55) from the floor and commanded a 41-31 rebounding advantage to offset 11 turnovers.

Jonathon Foust pumped in a game-high 21 points and Michael Fee collected 13 for Providence Grove, which connected on 38% (20-of-52) of its field goal attempts while turning the ball over a dozen times.

“I thought the key to our success tonight was controlling Providence Grove’s outside shooters by constantly rotating on defense and stopping the ball,” said Chatham Central coach Robert Burke. “Credit this win to an overall team effort. We shot much better against Providence Grove this time while playing off Michael Moore a lot so he didn’t have to worry about carrying the scoring load.

“I was especially pleased how well we read the defense to score on a number of backdoor cuts, while we had several younger guys come off the bench to make big contributions at both ends of the court.”

Patriots’ coach Wes Luther said it wasn’t a good shooting night for his squad.

“We’re a perimeter shooting team that lives or dies on our three-pointers, and we only made about a third of our long-range attempts this evening while we shot less than 50% from the foul line,” Luther said. “Not only did Chatham Central outshoot us from the outside, but they were more physical inside and did a good job in the paint using their bodies to box out as they cleaned the glass all night. After they opened up an 11-point lead in the third quarter we cut it to five by the end of the period, but then they hit a couple of big buckets to regain the momentum while we were missing close shots and we never recovered.”

Following Nic Wilson’s fast break layup with 2:28 left in the initial stanza that gave the Bears a 9-5 advantage, Providence Grove registered seven straight points to go up by three before Chatham Central closed out the opening frame with Wilson’s drive off the right baseline and Moore’s three-pointer from the left wing to reclaim the lead at 14-12.

The Patriots began the second period with an 11-5 burst capped by Fee’s put-back off the left baseline that put them ahead 23-19 with 3:24 to go until halftime prior to three-pointers by Gaines and Preston Cox sparking a 10-6 quarter-ending run that pulled the Bears even at intermission.

With Skertich, Cox and Parker Crowley combining for all of Chatham Central’s third-period points, the Bears surged to a 46-35 advantage six minutes into the stanza before Providence Grove rallied to slice the difference to five by the end of the quarter.

After Questin Overman’s trey from the right corner 38 seconds into the final period got the Patriots within 48-44, Skertich answered with a three-pointer from the right corner at the seven-minute mark prior to Gaines notching a conventional three-point play half a minute later that reestablished a double-digit lead for the victors, who increased their advantage to as much as 14 points on three occasions while Providence Grove could never trim the margin under 10 the remainder of the contest.


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