After losing a 53-48 decision to Mid-State Conference leader Battle Creek (13-3) Friday, the Boone Central Cardinals scored a clutch 81-67 victory over Crofton Saturday, breaking a five-game losing streak and advancing to the main bracket of the annual Mid-State Conference tournament.
“I thought we started to see much more consistent play throughout the games,” Cardinal Coach Justin Harris commented. “There will always be runs in basketball, but limiting them to shorter ones is a key.
“Our defensive effort in the fourth quarter against Crofton was the key to changing the outcome. We forced turnovers, which led to easy points.”
Once the Cardinals warmed up in Saturday’s conference tournament play-in game against Crofton (4-14), they had little trouble putting points on the scoreboard. Improved defense down the stretch made it pay off with the 81-67 victory.
Boone Central (4-13) trailed 15-12 after the first eight minutes and 35-32 at halftime, then exploded for 49 points in the second half. Young rained in a trio of 3-pointers in the third period, helping BC take a 52-51 edge, and the Cardinals used that momentum to outscore Crofton 29-16 in the fourth quarter. Young, Bird and Christo hit 3-point shots in the period and the Cardinals made all 10 of their free throws. It was one of Boone Central’s better shooting performances of the season, as the Cardinals made 15-of-37 2-point attempts (40%), 9-of-23 3-point tries (39%) and 24-of-30 free throws (80%). BC also forced 24 Crofton turnovers, while committing only 12.
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