Boys basketball: Gary 21st Century wins, will face Washington Twp. for title
By Dave Melton Post-Tribune correspondent March 1, 2013 10:20PM
Washington Twp's Ryan Geberin gets his shot off with defense from LaCrosse's Bryce Guse in the fourth quarter at Kouts High School Friday night. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 3, 2013 6:16AM
KOUTS — The fans yelled, the students stomped on the bleachers and it still didn’t matter.
Undaunted by a boisterous gym, Gary 21st Century sank free throw after free throw in the final minutes of the Cougars’ 54-48 win over Morgan Township.
“We’ve been such a poor free-throw shooting team, I thought for sure that was going to be our demise,” 21st Century (14-7) coach Rodney Williams said. “We shot 80 percent (8-for-10) tonight; that’s the first time we’ve done that this season.”
Louis Brown was particularly clutch for the Cougars, hitting all four of his free-throw attempts in the final minute to go along with his 10 points, five blocks and five rebounds.
The Cougars held a 39-34 lead early in the fourth quarter before a quick 8-0 run by Morgan (6-15) put the Cherokees ahead 42-39.
With 42 seconds remaining in the game and the Cougars ahead 49-46, Jamel Dickerson missed the front end of a one-and-one. But Brown came down with the rebound and was immediately fouled. After hitting both of his shots, the Cougars’ five-point lead proved to be too much for Morgan to overcome.
“He was a beast tonight,” Williams said. “I’ve been telling him all year that he’s needed to play like a man, and he did that.”
Williams also praised the effort of Arnez Cathey, who was given the task of guarding Morgan’s Ryan Klikus after he’d dropped 30 points on Gary Lighthouse in Wednesday’s contest.
“We had our best defender on him; he’s a great shooter,” said Williams.
Klikus finished with 18 points to lead the Cherokees.
Awaiting 21st Century in the sectional championship game will be Washington Township, which advanced to the title game with a 65-45 win over LaCrosse (3-17).
Brandon Adkins had a huge game for the Senators (16-6), leading all scorers with 28 points.
“He’s a rhythm shooter,” Washington head coach Scott Bowersock said of Adkins. “When he hits one or two, he’s capable of making three, four or five in a row.”
Adkins didn’t find his mark until the second half, but LaCrosse junior Bryce Guse was on fire from the opening tip. Guse had 12 points in the first half, which ended with Washington ahead 22-20.
“We challenged our guys at halftime,” said Bowersock. “Our defense was the key to the game. I was very frustrated with our pressure in the first half. We made some minor adjustments and our guards did a nice job of pressuring them the rest of the way.”
Guse had just six points in the second half, while Adkins began lighting up the scoreboard. He had 22 points in the final two quarters, converting on five of his six shots from behind the arc.
Washington began the fourth period with a 37-29 lead before embarking on a 12-4 run — all 12 points coming from Adkins — that put the game out of reach.