Despite scoring just 15 points in the second half, South held on to beat Carrollton 46-45 and finish the first half of the high school obys basketball regular season 11-0.
It was simply a matter of survival for Canton South on Tuesday night.
When the final buzzer sounded, the Wildcats breathed a welcome sigh of relief. Their perfect record still was intact.
Despite scoring just 15 points in the second half, South held on to beat Carrollton 46-45 and finish the first half of the high school obys basketball regular season 11-0. The Wildcats saw a seven-point fourth-quarter lead shrink to one, but the Warriors could not take advantage of back-to-back South turnovers in the final 48 seconds.
“We have been in those kind of situations before,” South head coach Frank Spotleson said. “It just seemed like this one was different in the fact it wasn’t going our way.
“We didn’t have the ball. We didn’t have control. We kept struggling to try to get it at the end of the game. Survival is a great way to put it.”
The Wildcats came in ranked fifth in the first Associated Press Division II state poll. They have had other close calls along the way.
South needed a last-second 3-pointer by Armand Fontes to beat Malvern in the Wildcats’ Christmas tournament. Another Fontes’ 3 late in regulation at Northwest extended the game to overtime.
This time, Carrollton had a couple of shots at a successful finish.
Down one, Andrew Collins missed a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left. South regained possession, but a second straight turnover gave the Warriors another chance.
South’s Trey Taylor was whistled for pushing off Stephen Ericksen with 4.9 seconds left. Ericksen missed the front end of the one-and-one, and Taylor was fouled on the rebound with 2.9 seconds left.
Taylor missed the front end of his one-and-one, but a desperation 3 by Carrollton out of the backcourt was missed at the buzzer.
“We knew it was going to be a close game, so we were going to have to try to execute as best as we could,” Taylor said. “Carrollton is really good. They play everyone close. They play everyone tough, and we knew it was going to be a close game down to the finish.”
It was a tough way for Ericksen’s night to finish. He scored a game-high 18 points, including 12 in the second half. Without him, the Warriors would not have been in a position to complete their comeback.
“He’s a kid I would want on the line,” Carrollton head coach Matt Voll said. “He gives you everything he has.
“He definitely plays his butt off. There’s no doubt about that.”
Ultimately, Carrollton could not overcome a 14-0 South run in the first half which gave the Wildcats the lead for good.
Kyle Deckerd scored 14 of his team-high 16 points in the first half to lead South to a 31-22 lead at the break. Taylor scored nine of his 12 points in the second half and was 4 of 5 from the line in the fourth quarter.
Page 2 of 2 - “Trey is a great athlete who gets to the basket very well,” Spotleson said. “He’s playing to his game, and we try to get him in the position to do the things he does well. It helped us out a lot tonight.”
Collins and Caleb Pasiuk each hit three 3-pointers for the Warriors (8-4, 3-3). Pasiuk finished with 12 points. Collins added 11.