?Síinute stretch spanning the second and third quarters spelled doom for Taylor as visiting Mississinewa went on a 13-0 scoring run that helped the Indians register a 52-44 victory over the Titans, Monday night at Center Court.
The visitors from the Central Indiana Conference, 12-5 overall, trailed Taylor 18-11 near the five minute mark of the second quarter, but managed to score the final eight points of the first half to grab a 19-18 lead. Mississinewa then scored the first five points of the third quarter to push the lead to 24-18 before Taylor’s Jacob Leicht scored on a rebound basket at the 6:02 mark to end the Titans’ drought.
Once the Indians established the third-quarter lead, Taylor, 8-10, would not be able to reduce the Mississinewa advantage to fewer than four points for the final 14 minutes of the contest.
“We had a stretch where we just couldn’t score and we had some breakdowns on the interior which has been a problem all year long,” said Taylor coach Jeff Fisher. “We also didn’t handle their ball screens very well and we got beat a couple of times for scores.”
Mississinewa center Josh Cook inflicted the majority of the damage on Taylor during the decisive seven-minute run. Scoring four times on the low block and adding two free throws, Cook tallied 10 of his game-high 16 points during the Indians’ spurt.
With Cook forcing Taylor to adjust defensively on the inside, the Indians found openings outside over the final two quarters. After making just one 3-point shot in the first half, the visitors sank five from long range in the final two quarters, including three by forward Brandon Cragun.
While the inside-outside game began to click for Mississinewa, the Titans were trying to pry the lid off of the basket on the offensive end. Taylor ended up hitting just 16 of 51 shots in the game and missed numerous attempts in the paint and on rebound basket opportunities.
“Their post defense hurt us tonight,” said Fisher. “They are strong on help-side defense and we did not reverse the ball well enough. They also pushed us out eight-feet from the low block when our players were able to get the ball inside.”
The Titans’ 3-point shooting kept the game within reach in the final quarter but four Mississinewa free-throws in the final :34 sealed the victory.
Junior forward Drake Herr led the Titans with team-high totals of 15 points and seven rebounds. Junior guards Reomey Northington and Seth Vautaw each scored 10 points. Sophomore Tyler Simmons, who had missed the last two games with an injury, did return Monday night for limited playing time, finishing with four points and three rebounds.
Besides being the Indians’ leading scorer, Cook also pulled down a game-high nine boards. Cragun finished with 11 points and point guard Chris Birky chipped in with nine points. Reserve forward Derek Little was also key as he netted four points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Hamilton Hts. at Northwestern
Tri-Central at Sheridan
Maconaquah at Northfield
Carroll at Frontier
Clinton Prairie at Clinton Ct.
Cass at Western
Northwestern at Eastern
Taylor at Carroll
Frankfort at Tipton
Peru at Rochester
Richmond at Kokomo
Tri-Central at Clinton Prairie
Western at Clinton Central
North Miami at Taylor
Carroll at Eastern
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