By GREG KEIM
THE GOSHEN NEWS
SOUTH BEND —
Recently Steve Austin has been more impressed with the defense being played by his Concord High School boys basketball team than with the offensive efforts of the Minutemen.
Tuesday night it was just the opposite as Concord suffered its first loss of the season by dropping a 72-70 non-conference decision at South Bend Clay.
The last couple of games we have struggled on offense,” the coach said. “Tonight I was pleased with the offense. Seventy points should be enough to win a game if we had been playing defense like we have been. Our defense let us down.”
The Minutemen played without the services of their leading scorer in 6-6 senior Franko House.
“He’s out sick,” Austin said. “He missed school today. He has a fever.”
The Clay Colonials are a very athletic team and watching his players try to guard them reminded Austin of something.
“We were two or three steps slow,” he said. “It was like watching Notre Dame trying to catch Alabama Monday night. I was worried about this game. I was afraid the guys would stay up late to watch Notre Dame. I told them I wanted them to go to bed by halftime.”
The Minutemen canned six 3-pointers in the opening half for a 39-35 lead. Clay scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter to tie the score 39-39.
“I told the kids at halftime the first five minutes of the third quarter were the most important,” Austin said. “Instead of doing the things we had talked about at halftime we let them tie the score right away. That set the tone for the rest of the game.”
The Minutemen regained the lead 44-41 on a basket following an offensive rebound by 6-7 senior Ghaneah Wayker and a trey by 6-2 junior Adam Glanders. Concord was still leading 50-46 with 3:15 left in the third only to have the Colonials close out the period with an 8-2 run for a 54-52 lead entering the final stanza.
A basket at 7:31 by 5-8 junior Ramon Johnson allowed the Minutemen to knot the score 54-54, but that was as close as Concord could get and they never were in the lead in the fourth quarter.
The Colonials got the lead up to nine points (71-62) with :51 left to play on a basket after an offensive rebound by 6-5 senior Kenny Jones.
Jones caused problems for the Minutemen all night long as he scored a game-high 29 points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
“We talked at halftime about keeping Clay off the offensive boards and limiting them to one shot,” Austin said. “We didn’t do that and I think we were even worse in the second half.
“Clay is very athletic. They are the most athletic team we have seen so far this season. But a lot of it was things we were doing and those kind of things are correctable.”
The Minutemen ended the game with an 8-1 run. Glanders drilled a trey with :40 remaining and Johnson one with :32 to narrow the gap. Clay was up 71-68 and had a chance to increase their advantage at the free-throw line, but the Colonials were called for a lane violation with :29 left to play.
The Minutemen couldn’t convert on the offensive end and Jones clinched the win with a freebie at :14 that gave his team a four-point lead.
Concord (8-1) returns to action on Friday night when the Minutemen host Plymouth in an NLC contest.
“I’m not saying tonight was not important, but the game we have Friday is more important,” Austin said. “That one is to keep a share of the conference lead.”
Even without House in the lineup the Minutemen had three players score in double figures and another just miss out.
Six-five sophomore Filip Serwatka poured in 23 points to pace the Minutemen. He netted 17 of his points in the opening half.
“We tried to put him down low and get him some shots inside,” Austin said. “Clay didn’t try to double team him or deny him the ball.”
Serwatka had a good night, making 10 of his 14 field goal attempts.
Glanders chipped in with 18 points for the Minutemen. He was 4-of-4 from 3-point range. Wayker had an all-around game with 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Johnson finished with nine points.
South Bend Clay 72, Concord 70
CONCORD — Ramon Johnson 3-9 2-2 9, Adam Glanders 6-15 2-2 18, DuWhan Alford 2-8 0-0 6, Ghaneah Wayker 7-9 0-0 14, Filip Serwatka 10-14 1-1 23, Dylan Wynne 0-0 0-0 0, Cain Crowley 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Kronk 0-1 0-0 0, Dakota Simon 0-0 0-2 0. Team: 28-56 5-7 70
SB CLAY — Emeka Andrews 1-3 0-0 2, Warren Taylor 0-1 0-0 0, Darren Taylor 4-7 0-0 9, Marcus Wilkerson 2-4 0-0 5, Martavious Richmond 3-3 0-0 7, Taron Miller 6-11 1-4 14, Dion Harris 2-2 0-1 4, Kenny Jones 12-13 5-7 29, Gilbert Williams 1-2 0-0 2. Team: 31-46 6-12 72
Concord 21 18 13 18 — 70
SB Clay 19 16 19 18 — 72
3-point goals: Concord 9-18 (Glanders 4-4, Serwatka 2-5, Alford 2-7, Johnson 1-2). SB Clay 4-9 (dTaylor 1-2, Richmond 1-1, Wilkerson 1-1, tMiller 1-4, Andrews 0-1, Williams 0-1).
Fouls: Concord 12, SB Clay 11.
Rebounds: Concord 19 (Wayker 9, Glanders 5, Alford 4). SB Clay 24 (Jones 13, Wilkerson 4).
Assists: Concord 16 (Johnson 8, Alford 3, Glanders 3).
Steals: Concord 6, (Johnson 3).
Turnovers: Concord 13, SB Clay 17.
Records (next games): Concord (8-1) hosts Plymouth Friday.
JV score: Concord won 53-40. (Concord: Danny McMahon 15 points, Brett Austin 14, Jared Long 8, Jerrell Pointdexter 6. SB Clay: Dion Harris 9, Justin Packingham 9, Nathan Hall 8).