Inconsistency costs Rangers against Centreville

Published 2:49 pm Friday, January 19, 2024

CASSOPOLIS — Inconsistency continues to be an Achilles heel for the Cassopolis boys’ basketball team.

Following a strong start, the Rangers were unable to sustain that early intensity over the entire 32 minutes and dropped a key 58-52 Southwest 10 Conference game at home to Centreville Thursday night.

“We came out real strong, but the biggest thing that beat us tonight were our turnovers,” said Cassopolis Coach Charles Superczynski II.

A pesky Centreville squad forced Cassopolis into 18 turnovers on the evening.

“At the end of the day I feel like we just handed this game away. With that many turnovers you won’t beat a team that’s unbeaten or a team without any wins,” Superczynski II added. “We came out as the aggressor then we let up. That’s been our achilles heel all season so far. We come out on fire then drift away. Tonight, in the third quarter we came out and got four or five steals right off the drift and got back into the game, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Centreville, now 8-1 overall and 8-0 in the league, entered the final staza protecting a slim 44-41 lead.

But senior guard Kenny May swished the first of two free throws then added a 5-foot jumper a few moments later to pull Cassopolis into a 44-44 tie with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter.

Centreville went back on top by two, 46-44, following a big bucket underneath the iron by the Bulldogs’ 6-foot-6 junior center Matt Swanwick.

Swanwick, a four-year letterwinner, poured in a game-high 21 points to go with 12 rebounds for Centreville.

Cassopolis answered on its next possession with senior guard Malachi Ward draining a triple that gave the Rangers a 47-46 lead with 5:04 left.

But Swanwick caught the Rangers’ defense off guard and scored on a back-door cut putting Centreville up 48-47 just a few seconds later.

Centreville would get a big free throw from Truckenmiller and five straight points from Carpenter, including a three pointer, that extended the visitors’ lead to 54-49 with less than two minutes left in the game.

May converted a deuce and made a free throw after getting fouled on the shot and pulled his team back within two points, 54-52, with 1:15 to go.

Centreville made four consecutive free throws, two each by Swanwick and Truckenmiller, in the final minute though to seal up the win.

Junior guard Kobe Carpenter added 17 points, including four triples, for the Bulldogs, while Declan Kane chipped in seven points.

Centreville made a total of 22 field-goal attempts, including eight three-point field goals, and finished 6-of-9 from the foul stripe.

Gavin Bunning added four rebounds for Centreville. Ben Truckenmiller chipped in seven assists and four steals and Carpenter also had four steals.

Centreville head coach Matt Price was elated to get the conference victory.

“This was a great high school basketball game. Both teams played hard. There were three late possessions where we really benefited and we were fortunate to pull the game out,” Price said.

“He (Swanwick) is a dynamic scorer for us, but everyone else has to grind and fill their roles for us to be successful as a team. Our kids hit some big threes and free throws tonight. I just ask everyone to give me 100 percent and that’s what they did tonight.”

Cassopolis sophomore guard Trevon Peterson-Evans hit a short jumper and added a triple moments later to give the Rangers a quick 5-0 lead to start the game. Jadyn Brown would add a shot on the inside and May nailed a short jumper as the Rangers increased its lead to 9-3.

Centreville, however, recovered from the early deficit and outscored its hosts 10-2 to end the first quarter and take a 13-11 advantage over the Rangers.

Back-to-back layups by Jaylen Pratt and Ward helped Cassopolis knot the game at 15-15 with 6:12 left in the second quarter.

Centreville would later build themselves an eight-point cushion 28-20, late in the half on consecutive triples from Bunning and Eathan Miller.

Cassopolis ended the half strong with consecutive buckets from May, Jadyn Brown and Ward. The 6-0 Rangers’ run lessened their deficit to just two points, 28-26 entering halftime.

Centreville increased its lead to as many as nine points, 39-30 midway through the third quarter. Swanwick netted six points during the spurt and Carpenter drained a triple.

But Cassopolis outscored Centreville 11-5 over the remainder of the stanza and trailed by just three entering the fourth quarter. May keyed the Rangers’ late surge in the period with a layup and three free throws while teammate Gavin Palmer also made a pair of charity tosses.

Cassopolis had four players reach double-digit scoring led by May with 17. Jadyn Brown contributed 12 points, Ward 11 and Peterson-Evans finished with 10.

The Rangers, now 7-3 overall and 2-2 in the league, knocked down 21-field goal attempts and connected on 7-of-8 free-throw chances.

Jadyn Brown also hauled down nine rebounds for the Rangers, while Peterson-Evans added seven and May four.

Ward also had one assist and three steals for Cassopolis. May contributed four assists and four steals. Jadyn Brown had two assists and a pair of steals. Peterson-Evans added three assists and four steals. Da’Mario McNichols had two steals and Ayden Gilliam two assists for Cassopolis.

Cassopolis’ head coach praised the play of Peterson-Evans.

“Trevon has a ton of potential. He can shoot, drive and jump and is positive,” Superczynski II said.

Once the turnovers are eliminated, Superczynski sees his team being able to fly around the basketball.

“Right now, I feel we are a good offensive transition team and slow-down team. If you eliminate the turnovers this group can really fly around the ball. Defensively I’m not sure there is a team that moves faster than we do. We’re just going to keep pressing that issue to get better,” Cassopolis’ coach said.