Cody Carter hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer at the end of 16-4 Cardinal run to down Van Buren 56-53 in boys SEISC basketball action Tuesday night in Eldon.
The visiting Warriors used baskets inside by big men Thomas Fitzsimmons and Tanner Smith for an early 4-0 lead. With the Warriors leading 7-3, back to back baskets by Dakota Showman pulled the Comets even.
Cardinal grabbed their first lead at the midpoint of the opening quarter on a basket by Jonathan Pedersen. Another Showman basket kept the Comets even at 11 before Pedersen scored to give the lead back to Cardinal. The Comets would have the best of the closing minutes, as they would outscore the Warriors 6-3 for a 19-14 lead after one.
The second quarter belonged to the visitors. A defensive change forced the Comets into a speed of play that they didn’t handle.
“We swithed defenses and went to the press,” said Van Buren coach Fred Parsons. “We needed to change the game because we weren’t executing our offense.”
Fitzsimmons scored to cut the Cardinal lead to 19-16 to open the second. Cardinal would score their next four points at the foul line to hold a 23-20 lead at the quarter’s halfway point.
The free throw line would have a bigger affect on the game as the action progressed. The Warriors would go only 8 of 24 from the line in the game and miss some crucial ones down the stretch.
Van Buren would have eight steals in the quarter and force 11 Comet turnovers as they sped up the game and took the lead. The big quarter was by Warrior sophomore, Garrett Saunders. His seven straight points gave the visitors a 27-23 lead. Saunders would add four more points for 11 in the quarter. Saunders’ 3-pointer gave the Warriors a 35-28 lead but Charlie Rachford’s late basket cut the Warrior lead to five at the half.
Van Buren maintained the lead throughout the third eight minutes. They led by as many as nine after back to back baskets by Robbie Laughlin. The score was 49-40 with just over two minutes to play in the quarter. The Comets closed the quarter with a 6-0 run. Rachford hit a 3 at the buzzer to cut the lead to 49-46 heading into the final eight minutes.
Rachford led Cardinal with six of his Cardinal game high 14 points in the quarter.
“I think I’m a scorer and I like to take the ball to the basket when I don’t have an open look,” said Rachford.
One of the Comet young big men also had a good quarter. Sophomore, Kaleb Durflinger, had five points in the third.
Fitzsimmons opened the fourth with a basket for a 51-46 lead. The visitors would only add another Fitzsimmons basket with just under a minute to play.
“They turned us into a half court team,” said Parsons.
Pedersen got the Comets going with a basket to pull them within 51-48. Rachford would then add his only point of the quarter and the lead was two. Rachford would later be involved in the game winning play. Pedersen tied it with two free throws.
“Van Buren makes it big,” said Pedersen. “I just try to get everybody going and involved late in a game.”
Pedersen would also be involved in the game’s final play.
The Comets closed out the 7-0 run with a baseline drive by Showman for a 53-51 lead.
Cardinal coach, Jay Olson, talked about how his team got back into the game.
“We did a lot better job of handling their press. They had to pull it back and actually got out of it. I think we also stepped up on the defensive end.”
With score tied at 53, Cardinal used a timeout to set up the final play. The winning play involved Rachford, Pedersen, and of course Carter. Rachford caught the ball in the corner and drove the baseline. He missed the shot but got the offensive rebound. Then his pass along the baseline found Pedersen. Pedersen didn’t have a shot but found Carter at the arc. Carter closed out the win with his big shot.
“When I first caught the ball I felt like I had a good look,” said Carter. “I didn’t know how much time was left so even though I got a little pressure - I knew I had to take the shot.”
Coach, was it just like you drew it up?
“Pretty close. We wanted to drive the baseline and get to the foul lin,e” said Olson.
The (3-2, 3-2) Comets host Pekin Thursday night in another big game. Van Buren (1-4, 1-4) hosts Holy Trinity in SEISC South action on Friday.
Cardinal 56, Van Buren 53
V.B. 14 21 14 4 — 53
Card. 19 11 16 10 — 56
Van Buren (53) — Tanner Smith 9, Thomas Fitzsimmons 14, Garrett Saunders 15, Brandon Plecker 2, Pedrick Garrett 6, Will Mertens 3, Laughlin 4. Totals 22-53 8-24 53.
3-point goals — 1-6 (Saunders). Fouled out — Garrett. Rebounds — 26 (Fitzsimmons 13). Assists — 16 (Saunders 5). Steals — 14 (Saunders 4, Smith 4). Blocks — 4 (Fitzsimmons 4). Total fouls — 15. Turnovers — 18.
Cardinal (56) — Conner McElderry 2, Charlie Rachford 14, Nathan Yeager 2, Dakota Showman 11, Johnathan Pedersen 10, Kaleb Durflinger 7, Cody Carter 6, Brandon Potts 4. Totals 20-51 12-18 56.
3-point goals — 4-14 (Rachford 2, Carter 2). Fouled out — none. Rebounds — 34. Assists — 8 (Showman 4). Steals — 11 (Carter 4). Blocks — none. Total fouls — 18. Turnovers — 27.