Eagles withstand Falcons’ slow-down tactics to advance
WHITE PIGEON — Constantine’s boys’ basketball team came out with nothing to lose against Schoolcraft’s high-powered basketball team in Monday’s Class C district game at White Pigeon.
After two blowout losses during the regular season, including a 60-17 setback just a few days earlier, many people thought the Eagles would make short work of the Falcons a third time.
That wasn’t the case as Constantine slowed the game down and hung around until Schoolcraft was finally able to pull away late in the fourth quarter for a 60-42 win.
Schoolcraft, now 20-1, advances to face Centreville (14-6) at 6 p.m. White Pigeon (3-17) battles Lawton (5-16) in the other game at 7:30 p.m.
Lawton defeated Decatur 78-59 in the other game played Monday.
Schoolcraft built a 16-8 advantage after the opening eight minutes and took a 31-20 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Eagles were in front 48-32 entering the fourth quarter.
Constantine actually pulled within 11, 49-38, with almost four minutes left in the game following a pair of layups by junior Nolan Malcom.
Schoolcraft closed out the game from that point by hitting key free throws down the stretch to seal up the win.
Despite the loss, Constantine first-year head coach Travis Walker was extremely proud of his Falcons’ effort.
“Schoolcraft has assembled a good team with athletes and basketball players. On top of that they are quick, strong, play aggressively and are fundamentally strong,” said Constantine coach Travis Walker.
“I didn’t feel like we were a step behind at all tonight. We have some things fundamentally we have to work on. I felt like we were in this thing the whole way and the kids never backed down.”
Constantine fought through a lot of injuries and other personal issues throughout the season. It wasn’t until recently the Falcons had everyone available to play on the same night.
“It wasn’t until game 10 that we were at full strength. We had nine different starting lineups in the games before that. It’s easy to get down on yourself when you lose some games you shouldn’t and you’re dealing with injuries,” Walker said.
“I just don’t think we played with enough confidence or chip on our shoulders, but tonight we did. We have to get into the weight room, the gym and out on the track and field to get stronger, faster and better. If we can do that we’ll be able to compete with anybody.”
Constantine shot 16-of-40 from the floor and were 8-of-11 at the foul stripe.
The Falcons were outrebounded 31-22 by the Eagles.
Trey Salisbury had 13 points and four rebounds for Constantine. Malcom added 11 points. Evan Herschbach finished with eight points and seven boards. Seth Wright had five points. Anthony Evilsizor had three points and three rebounds.
Please see Tuesday's Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.