Jacobs watches 2nd half lead slip away
Boylan guard Tristian Ford pulled up and swished a 3-pointer from the right wing with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter, prompting a quick timeout from Jacobs boys basketball coach Jimmy Roberts.
Roberts yelled throughout the entire timeout - both with admonishment and encouragement. With his team still six points ahead, Roberts seemed to sense something unfavorable coming the Golden Eagles' way.
"We play good in spurts and we can make runs," Roberts said. "We have the personnel, but winning's hard. We're not tough enough at the right times to be able to beat good teams."
Roberts' inclination proved true. His three-win team, which had battled back from a tough first quarter against an 11-win team, could not sustain that level long enough.
Boylan rallied back and led the entire fourth quarter to earn a 55-45 nonconference boys basketball victory Saturday at the Eagles' Nest.
It was a frustrating ending for Jacobs (3-14) that went from a 10-point deficit to end the first quarter to a nine-point lead midway through the third quarter to eventually losing by 10.
"We get a nine-point lead and that's where you don't have to do anything spectacular, now you be super-solid and stick to your principles and your core values," Roberts said. "What happened (before the timeout) was we had two ball-screen situations and (Grant) Stec did his job and our two guards are supposed to go over the ball screen and they didn't. We can't break down in situations like that. We are good enough to be solid and do that."
The Titans (12-4) looked like they would run away from the Eagles after a 19-9 first quarter. Roberts wondered if there were residual effects from Friday's 56-26 loss to Dundee-Crown.
But guard Isiah Jackson invigorated his team with three second-quarter 3s and Jacobs led at halftime, 30-29.
"We got the ball moving, we were playing as a team, we were making shots," Jackson said. "We were playing decent defense. We were playing good help defense. We moved as a team and were talking and communicating."
The Eagles kept that momentum in the third quarter with Jackson Martucci's layup, and a three-point play each from Nick McCoy and Martucci.
Boylan, in the meantime, missed five free throws and went 7:00 without scoring. Jacobs pushed its lead to 38-29 before Ford ended that cold spell.
"It's always the start of games. We tend to start off a little bit slower," said Martucci, who led Jacobs with 17 points. "Once we get going, we move it more and were a lot quicker. We have to keep that going. We were up nine, we have to keep doing the same thing defensively and not foul, but play hard defense."
Boylan started making free throws, taking the lead for good with four in the final 1:02 of the third quarter. Jacobs hit only 2 of 9 shots in its five-point fourth quarter.
Titans coach Brett McAllister credited his team's full-court pressure in the third quarter, which helped force five turnovers, with helping turn things around.
"It's a testament to (Jacobs) and their fight," McAllister said. "They haven't consistently had their whole team together and I knew it was going to be a fight on their floor. We needed to amp up our pressure a little bit, that was one way to generate some energy with our guys.
"We had a long scoring drought and they were hitting some shots and the energy was with them in their gym. Our guys did a good job of putting pressure on them, getting some deflections and some steals and generating energy."
Ford led Boylan with 20 points and Joey Appino added eight.
"To our kids' credit, they're super-resilient and they keep coming," Roberts said. "They're good teammates. We played very well for long stretches, but at the end of the day we're just not tough enough where it counts and when it counts to beat good teams, and that's a good team."
Jackson finished with 13 points and McCoy scored 11 for the Eagles.
"You have to stack up stops to win a game like that," Martucci said. "That's something that's not easy to do. We got fouls and they got free throws and they got easy layups with their press and had us out of it a little bit."