CARENCRO — Teurlings Catholic boys basketball coach Jake Dueitt said the Rebels’ goal against Carencro on Monday was to keep the game as low scoring as possible.
“Carencro is a very athletic team,” Dueitt said. “We knew we couldn’t play in the 60s and 70s, like they like. We wanted to keep it in the 50s. They didn’t get to get into a rhythm and that was fine by us.”
It worked out fine as the Rebels held on for a 55-54 win, but it wasn’t without some last-second dramatics.
Teurlings found itself down 54-53 with 20 seconds to play. Sage LeBlanc then penetrated the defense and found Grant LaGrange wide open near the basket. LaGrange nailed a 7-footer to put the Rebels up 55-54 with 3.3 seconds left.
The Bears inbounded the ball to Jacob Siner, who led all Bears with 17 points, including three 3-pointers. Bears coach Christopher Kovatch said the ball should have gone up the middle, but instead, Siner drove to the sideline, allowing Teurlings’ Bailey Ellis to get the game-clinching steal.
“We wanted to get it in Jacob’s hands and we did that,” Kovatch said. “That is one that you wish you could go back and practice and hopefully execute a little bit better. Their kid made a great play.”
Dueitt said it was no surprise to the Rebels that the play was going to Siner. He commended Ellis on coming off the bench and making the steal.
“We knew for a fact it was going to (Siner),” Dueitt said. “We wanted to put another big (player) in there, and Bailey Ellis had a great hustle play. He could have easily given up; we’re talking about a kid that played two or three minutes, but when it was his turn, he made a play.”
On the game-winner, Dueitt said the Bears had gone into a gimmick defense where the boxed out Cole Kelley. With Kelley no longer an option, Duiett said the offense had to improvise through LeBlanc.
“That wasn’t the play that we called, but we have such a veteran group that has been under the lights numerous times,” he said. “They just played basketball. Sage got great penetration and kicked it to Grant. Grant was wide open.”
Kovatch said the Bears had too many mental mistakes to win the game. Carencro was 7-of-17 from the free-throw line.
“We played hard enough to win, but we made enough mistakes to merit the loss,” Kovatch said. “We turned the ball over too many times and in crucial possessions. Free throws have been a consistent problem for us that we have tried to address in lots of different ways. We are definitely struggling with it right now.”
Despite Kelley being heavily defended on the final drive, the 6-foot-7 junior did have a game-high 21 points. Dueitt said there is no mistaking that the offense goes through Kelley.
“Cole is going to get beat up every night,” Dueitt said. “He takes a beating inside, but he has gotten stronger and plays through the contact.
Everything goes through Cole, but he also knows we have a supporting cast around him that can help. When we’re hitting shots, it makes life easier on him.”