Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 23, 2013

Bigger Blackhawks dominate boards, beat Titans

Taylor cuts lead to four in final minute before Sheridan puts it away

By Bryan Gaskins
Tribune sports editor

— Sheridan attacked the glass to beat Taylor 66-58 in boys basketball action Tuesday night at Center Court.

The Blackhawks had a decided height advantage and made the most of it, finishing with a 33-23 rebounding advantage with five different players contributing at least five boards. The Blackhawks had 13 offensive rebounds.

“I think that is the first game we’ve gotten out-rebounded by double digits,” Taylor coach Andy Lewman said. “We gave up [13] offensive boards — when you give up that many offensive boards, it’s very difficult to be in games, especially against a good-shooting team.

“We’re in a situation where we have to be doing the little things every night. We had some slip-ups [Tuesday] where we weren’t doing some of the things. We hit shots in the first half and we were able to try to keep it close until the second quarter — but we gave up a lot of points in the second quarter.”

Taylor led 17-16 after the opening quarter, but Sheridan started to take control with a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter. The Blackhawks pulled into halftime with a 38-29 lead.

Sheridan made 17 of 31 shots in the opening half and turned five of the misses into 11 second-chance points. Taylor shot the ball well in the half as well (making 13 of 23 shots) but had just two second-chance points.

“We knew we had to make sure we popped the boards. Taylor may be smaller, but they play hard and they crash the boards hard. They do it by committee,” Sheridan coach Cory Dunn said.

Taylor rebounded better on the defensive end in the second half and fought back into contention. The Titans closed to within three, 43-40, with 1:48 left in the third quarter, but the Blackhawks scored the final five points of the quarter to regain control.

Sheridan was up 58-47 with 2:55 left, but had to withstand one more Taylor charge. The Titans used an 8-1 run book-ended by 3-pointers from Nathan Gotshall and Challen Hodson to close to within four with :43.3 left, but Sheridan guard Tyler Jones slammed the door shut by hitting 5 of 6 free throws over the next 30 seconds to make it 64-55.

Jones finished with a game-high 28 points. Connor Stumm added 12 points for the Blackhawks. Bryan Powell had a game-high nine boards.

Hodson led Taylor with 15 points. Gotshall and Logan Barnes followed with 11 apiece and Calvin Wheeler had nine. Gotshall had seven rebounds.

The Titans showed good ball movement, especially in the first quarter when they had six assists on seven made baskets. They finished with 16 assists against just 10 turnovers.

“We’ve definitely improved offensively,” Lewman said. “I’m pleased with our progress. It’s starting to show out on the floor during games and that is a tribute to the hard work the kids are putting in in practice.

“I’m sure 59 percent in the first half is the best shooting half we’ve had for the season,” he added. “I think playing Friday, Saturday and Tuesday kind of took its toll on us as the game wore on.”

Sheridan improved to 9-3 while Taylor dropped to 4-11.

Sheridan has a game against Northwestern coming up Saturday.

“This is a tough stretch for us,” Dunn said. “We’ve been on the road a lot in the last four games, against some really good opponents [Tipton and Hamilton Heights], and I wasn’t taking Taylor lightly because their record is not indicative of how hard they play.”