Mt. Gilead surges past Pirates in third quarter
By ROB HAMILTON
For 18 minutes, Cardington’s basketball team had done what it needed to do in order to hang with Mount Gilead on the road on Friday.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, it was the next seven minutes which proved to decide the game — a 63–50 win by the Indians.
After Cardington opened the third quarter with a three-pointer from Tyler Dornon and a steal and basket from Tyler Howell, they led 32–30 with about six minutes remaining in the period.
Over the rest of the third and the first minute of the fourth, Mount Gilead would go on a 18–0 run, though, which turned Cardington’s two-point lead into a 16-point deficit they would not be able to overcome.
“We scored five points in the third,” said Pirate coach Rod Brown. “Good teams make shots when they’re open. We had a lot of open looks and missed them and you can’t miss those.”
“We knew it’d be hard,” said Mount Gilead’s coach, Tom Cooper. “It’s a Mount Gilead-Cardington game, so the kids came to battle. I challenged them at halftime to pick up the defensive intensity and the kids did a good job.”
Michael Bland started the Indian run with a basket and Nic Pomeroy added a quick three-pointer. Ethan Harris added four points and Payton Vanderkooi opened the fourth quarter with a three that gave the Indians a 48–32 lead with seven minutes of time remaining on the clock.
Cardington would get as close as a 10-point margin, but the Indians would not let them get within single digits as they held on for the win.
Cooper noted that his team simply executed better on both offense and defense in the second half.
“We played straight man-to-man in the third quarter and didn’t turn the ball over as much,” said the coach. “We did a better job getting out on their three-point shooters.”
The Indians got out to a fast start in the game, but Cardington rallied in the final moments of the first quarter. Five points by Nic Pomeroy and four each from Ethan Harris and Logan Chapman gave Mount Gilead a 15–8 lead, but the Pirates got five from Dornan in the final minute of the period to help them get within a 15–14 margin.
The Indians surged back in the second quarter, opening the period on a 9–3 run, getting three-pointers from both Chris Godfrey and Pomeroy.
However, the Pirates came back again, scoring eight straight points, six by Dornon, to take their first lead of the game at 25–24.
The game would be deadlocked at 27–27 with time running out in the period, but Harris broke the tie with a buzzer-beating three.
“We said at halftime to go to Tyler Dornon and see if he’s still hot and he hit a three,” said Brown. “Then we got a lay-up and then didn’t score for seven minutes.”
Brown wasn’t the only coach wondering what was going wrong during certain points in the game. On the other bench, Cooper was displeased by his team’s troubles with taking care of the ball, noting that turnovers played a role in the game’s closeness.
“It’s something we’ve talked about,” said the coach. “We get careless with the basketball — we gave away too many possessions tonight.”
For Cardington, Dornon led all scorers with 20 points, while Howell added nine and Mason Richardson picked up eight. After the game, Brown noted that his team has played some tough teams closely, but just needs to find a way to pick up wins in those games.
“That’s a question we ask ourselves every day,” said the coach. “We’re here and playing with them and we have to find a way to get over the hump.”
Mount Gilead got 14 from both Pomeroy and Harris. Xavier Harris added 13, while Chapman finished with eight. Twelve of Pomeroy’s points came from three-point shots — something which pleased Cooper.
“Nic Pomeroy really shot the ball well,” he said. “You have to like it when a senior steps up in a big rivalry game.”