For three quarters of Monday’s District 6-4A game with St. Michael the Archangel, things had gone according to Tara’s script.
The visiting Trojans carried a one-point lead into the final quarter and kept Warriors’ leading scorer, Jacob Evans, under wraps with a box-in-one alignment.
With Evans scoring only one point in the fourth quarter, St. Michael relied on other sources for offensive production and displayed they’re more than a one-man show in a 61-55 victory over Tara.
“They did a good job of limiting Jacob’s touches,” St. Michael coach Drew Hart said. “What happened was the other guys on the team rose to the challenge which kind of happened the first time we played them. When they doubled him (Evans) one of the guards had to hit shots. They’re expected to do that, and they did it, and that’s why we won.”
St. Michael (22-4, 3-1) compensated for Evans being limited to 11 points — or 15 under his average — with good balance led by guard Nick Arcement’s 17 points and 15 from center David Ventress, including 13 in the second half, while Michael Miketinas added nine.
“Our game plan was to limit Evans, but also stop the role players from stepping up, which they did a great job in our other game, and they did again tonight,” Tara coach Marqus Mitchell said. “That’s a talented team. We didn’t do the little things to be able to steal this one on the road.”
Tara (13-13, 2-2) positioned itself to accomplish just that, overcoming a 26-21 halftime deficit behind guard Paul Johnson, who went scoreless in the opening half.
Johnson scored 12 of his 15 points in the third quarter when the Trojans made 7 of 13 shots, taking their first lead (35-32) since the opening minutes of the game on consecutive 3-pointers from Johnson and Derrick Thomas.
St. Michael became aggressive in getting to the basket against Tara’s full-court pressure, a mindset that resulted in the Warriors making 4 of 6 free throws for a 43-40 lead after Evans’ free throw with 6:48 left.
That ignited a 9-1 run in which Ventress contributed a hook shot after an assist from Arcement and Miketinas spotted up in the corner for a 3-pointer and 48-41 advantage with 4:51 left.
Tara narrowed the gap to 50-47 with just over three minutes left on Derrick Thomas’ second-chance basket but the Trojans, who made 34 percent of their shots, never got any closer.
St. Michael, which made 7 of 9 field goals in the quarter and shot 55 percent for the game, established nine-point leads on two occasions with Ventress accounting for the second one with 1:25 showing, scoring off of a lob to make it 58-49.
“I told him he wouldn’t be able to score with two and three people on him,” Hart said of pre-fourth quarter talk with Evans. “It’s tough for him because he wants to score for his team, but there are other things he can do and he did.”