In­di­ans edge Ti­tans in early-sea­son hoops ac­tion

Cecil Whig - - & - By ADRIAN MARTIN

Spe­cial to the Whig

— The bas­ket had not been kind to Tim Web­ster all night, but his fi­nal at­tempt was the only one that mat­tered.

Bot­tled un­der­neath a clus­ter of flap­ping arms, the North East ju­nior for­ward emerged and re­leased the ball just be­fore the buzzer sounded. It rolled off the back­board and through the net, giv­ing the In­di­ans a 32-30 home win in non-con­fer­ence ac­tion against Tome Mon­day night.

NORTH EAST

Web­ster was thrilled to come up big in that mo­ment to give his team a jolt of con­fi­dence dur­ing rough of­fen­sive night.

“I didn’t even think it counted at first,” Web­ster said with a laugh. “I was so happy. We’ve just got to keep get­ting W’s and keep mov­ing around to get bet­ter shots.”

It was the ul­ti­mate re­demp­tion for Web­ster, who made two trips to the foul line in the fi­nal 45 sec­onds, but made just 1-of-3 — that one good free throw tied the game at 30-all with 25.2 sec­onds re­main­ing. North East (2-1) got the ball back just eight sec­onds later as the de­fense notched its fifth steal of the fourth quar­ter. Web­ster snagged his team-high sev­enth re­bound with less than five sec­onds left but had to wait for an open­ing in the crowd of de­fend­ers.

As the arena went nuts af­ter Web­ster’s game-win­ner, his team­mates piled on top of him, half out of ela­tion and half out of re­lief that the har­row­ing or­deal was over. Of the 52 shots North East took in the game, just 14 fell.

“Tome prob­a­bly out­played us,” North East head coach Alan Foskey said. “We couldn’t throw a ball in the ocean and get it wet, but de­fen­sively I was pleased.”

Of­fense was hard to come by for both teams. They com­bined to go 0-for-22 on 3-point at­tempts, and they both shot un­der 35 per­cent from the floor over­all.

The Ti­tans led by three at half­time and again af­ter the third quar­ter, but the In­di­ans snatched the lead back with a five-point surge in the first 90 sec­onds of the fi­nal frame. They held onto the lead through most of the pe­riod with the help of an ef­fec­tive half- court trap that led to sev­eral Tome turnovers.

“That re­ally helped us a lot. We’ve got some quick kids,” Foskey said. “That was the turn­ing point for us, but we just had trou­ble fin­ish­ing.”

Tome kept the score un­com­fort­ably close by go­ing 4-for-6 at the free-throw line, com­pared to the In­di­ans’ 3-for-10 ef­fort. The Ti­tans took a 30-29 lead with 58 sec­onds to go but failed to score again.

Foskey not only showed Tome a va­ri­ety of schemes, but a va­ri­ety of per­son­nel as well. He sub­sti­tuted out the en­tire start­ing five sev­eral times through­out the con­test, a tac­tic he said he will con­tinue to use for the time be­ing.

“I did it against Tri-City the other night and it worked out well. I had 12 out of 13 score and had kids with a dou­ble-dou­ble play­ing 12 min­utes,” Foskey said. “With our speed, it’s work­ing. We’ll see what hap­pens. We try to give the kids as much play­ing time as we can.”

Fea­tur­ing sev­eral play­ers 6-foot2 or taller, North East dom­i­nated the boards 38-28, while ju­nior guard Ko­bie Matthews led the of­fense with nine points.

The Ti­tans’ Chase Wunder scored a game-high 14 points, though the In­di­ans held him score­less in the de­ci­sive fourth quar­ter.

Foskey said he’s happy about the way his play­ers have re­sponded thus far to a team-first men­tal­ity.

“I think it’s a much bet­ter at­ti­tude right now,” he said. “We preach ‘we’ in­stead of ‘me’ and for the most part, they’re all buy­ing into it.”

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