Boys basketball: Kouts cruises to easy win after Hebron commemorates ’62-63 team
By Kevin O’Keefe Post-Tribune correspondent November 23, 2012 11:22PM
Kouts' Jake Moore shoots over Hebron's Tony Rose and Spencer Sutherland in the second quarter at Hebron High School Friday evening | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 25, 2012 6:24AM
HEBRON — Before Friday’s game, Hebron honored its 1962-63 team that went 20-3, but Kouts crashed the party and cruised to a 60-44 Porter County Conference victory.
Before the game the Hawks also presented Kouts coach Marty Graf with a plaque commemorating his 30 years of coaching.
Kouts (2-0) was paced by four players in double figures. Nick Taylor had 12, Cory Nelson had 11 and Andrew Birky and Austin McNeill had 10 each.
“Austin McNeill played a great game tonight,” said Graf. “He came off the bench and had a huge offensive game. We took advantage of them with our inside game. Austin came in when Matt (Stewart) got two quick fouls. Everyone pitched in tonight, Jake Moore hit a key basket, Jake Bekelya handled their pressure and that was a big shot by Nick (Taylor) that kind of calmed the crowd down.”
The shot Graf was referring to was a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Mustangs a 38-28 lead at the end of the third quarter. Taylor’s shot propelled the Mustangs to run off 10 unanswered points and build a 17-point lead with 5:48 remaining in the game.
After a slow start, the Mustangs opened a 14-7 advantage after the first quarter, due in part to a strong inside presence by McNeill. McNeill came off the bench to score eight of the Mustangs’ 14 first-quarter points.
“In my mind I have to keep myself focused so when I do get in the game, I’m ready,” McNeill said. “We talked about taking advantage of our size inside all week, getting the ball into the low post.”
The Hawks (1-1) slowly began to claw away at the Kouts lead and finally tied the game at 19 on a Tony Rose jumper with 2:45 left but Kouts scored the final seven points to take a 26-19 advantage at the half.
Rose and Kyle Joyce led the way for the Hawks with nine first-half points apiece.
Eight first-half turnovers hampered the Mustangs’ chances at building a larger halftime lead. Rose would lead all scorers with 22 points.
“Tony stepped up for us tonight but we need some of our seniors to step up,” said Hawks coach John Steinhilber. “We had chances, we had two or three steals in a row and came up empty, we just have to work at getting better starting tomorrow.”