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The Suburbanite
  • Coventry forces LCCS turnovers for the win

  • The pace was to Lake Center Christian’s liking, but the result was to Coventry’s.

    The Comets, playing the polar opposite of their usual frenetic style, rode the quick hands of George Jacobs and the inside power of Bryce Hargrove to a 44-34 nonleague road win.

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  • The pace was to Lake Center Christian’s liking, but the result was to Coventry’s.
    The Comets, playing the polar opposite of their usual frenetic style, rode the quick hands of George Jacobs and the inside power of Bryce Hargrove to a 44-34 nonleague road win.
    Coming off a 90-68 win against Ravenna three days prior, Coventry was strong-armed into a slow game by the Tigers, but Jacobs’ defense and Hargrove’s interior presence proved enough as LCCS made a late run to get back into the game.
    Jacobs was the point man for the Comets’ full- and half-court pressure all night long, and the Tigers (9-10) consistently struggled as Coventry trapped and doubled ball handlers.
    With seven steals, the senior guard created havoc for LCCS’ Alex Armstrong and Taylor Miller, the Tigers’ two primary ball handlers. Coventry forced the Tigers into 28 turnovers.
    “We knew we have four pretty good guards and they have good size inside, but we knew we could put some good pressure on and it worked out,” Coventry coach Lynn Wess said. “This was kind of a trap game for us, after a very emotional game against Ravenna and a big game coming up against Springfield. They (LCCS) hadn’t played in a week, and I knew they would come ready to play, and our guys gutted it out.”
    In the first half, Jacobs picked pockets and raced the other way for easy layups en route to 13 points. The Tigers committed 15 turnovers before intermission, leaving them with just 11 field goal attempts.
    In spite of that and the third foul on leading scorer Scott Hefty, which sent him to the bench early in the second quarter, LCCS climbed back to within nine, 27-18, at the half. Jacobs jumped and missed with 10 seconds left, and the Tigers raced the ball to the other end of the court, where sophomore guard Caleb Schroll drained a 3-pointer from the right wing as time expired.
    “I thought we did a lot of things well tonight. We defended well, we controlled the tempo,” LCCS coach Schlabach said. “They scored 90 points Friday night and that alone shows that we did a good job there, but we just didn’t convert or take advantage of the openings in their traps.”
    Coventry’s lead swelled to as much as 13 in the period and remained at 12 as the quarter ended. It could have been closer, but Hefty missed all three free throws after being fouled on a shot attempt with 0.4 second remaining. As he headed to the bench, the 6-foot-2 senior forward swung his right arm at the air in frustration and let out a yell.
    Hargrove, who notched six points and 10 rebounds, claimed eight of his caroms in the second half and bothered any LCCS shooter who ventured into the lane for much of the second half. His contributions were needed as the Comets (11-9) struggled to 5-of-14 free-throw shooting in the half, with Jacobs and Hargrove combining to go just 3 of 12.
    Page 2 of 2 - Continued struggles with pressure gave LCCS a bleak picture
    entering the fourth, but a key 3-pointer by junior guard Tyler Wine and two free throws by Hefty fueled a 7-0 run to begin the period and pull the Tigers within five, 37-32.
    LCCS offense sputtered out, but its defense kept it in the game as the Comets had trouble finding open shots and converting free throws. Coventry gradually pulled away and their seven-point edge going into the final minute was too much to overcome.
    Jacobs led all scorers with 19 points. He was the only Coventry player to reach double figures, while senior forward Trevor Rainieri led the Tigers with nine points and five rebounds. Wine added six points and Slayman had nine rebounds.
    LCCS outrebounded the Comets 36-26, a fact Schlabach credited for allowing his team to control the pace of the game.
    He also took encouragement from the way his team battled against a top-tier Portage Trail Conference team and liked the way LCCS was able to impose its will on the game.
    “I think it’s a testimony to our guys and how hard they compete,” Schlabach said.
    Wess, meanwhile, saw the benefit of winning playing a different style of basketball than his team normally does and did not miss the significance of the 11th win for a team having its best season in years.
    “It’s very important for us to try to get to 12 and to have a winning record,” Wess said. “We need to win one of our last two, so it’s very important for the program, absolutely.”