Arts & Sciences Holds On For 5-A Win Over Grace

Friday, January 10, 2014 - by Jaime Barrett
All the drama that took place in the final minutes of the fourth quarter of Friday’s high school basketball game between Arts & Sciences and Grace Academy would have seemed impossible at the end of the third.

Heading into the final period, the visiting Patriots had turned a one-point halftime lead into a 16-point advantage, but Grace wasn’t ready to give up. The Golden Eagles fought their way back to within a point until time ran out on their comeback and CSAS held on for a 59-58 District 5-A victory.

“I never thought they were going to quit,” Patriots coach Mark Dragoo said. “I think maybe our kids kind of did, because they let up at the end and Grace picked it up. We have so many young players, and for a lot of them this is the first time they’ve played in that kind of game. We relaxed defensively, and started reaching and putting Grace at the free throw line. They made their free throws, and we couldn’t. But we’ll take it. It’s a big district win.”

After a sluggish start for both teams, the Patriots (13-5, 2-0) used 3-pointers from Joshua Carter, Justin Brown and Miguel Hamilton to help take a 19-16 first-quarter lead, but managed only four points in the first four minutes of the second period. Meanwhile, Grace’s Will Slack found Blake Savard for several open looks to help the Golden Eagles pull ahead.

“We started out slow, but the intensity certainly picked up as the game went on,” Golden Eagles’ coach Jon Mattheiss said. “It was really the kind of game I expected it to be. We created some good chances that we just didn’t finish. At times it looked like both teams were trying to win, and at other times it looked like we both were trying to give it away. But when a game is that intense, that’s going to happen.”

A free throw from Nick Moore, who led the Patriots with 15 points, gave his team a 28-27 lead at halftime before CSAS used its full-court press to storm ahead in the third quarter. By capitalizing on the turnovers they created, the Patriots built a 49-33 lead when Carter assisted Shun Moorer with 12.6 seconds left in the period.

“They adjusted to what we were doing in our zone, and our guys started gambling too much and they made us pay for it,” Mattheiss said. “Some of our turnovers led to easy baskets for them too. We had a stretch of three or four turnovers that led to six or eight straight points for them, but that’s what those type of presses were meant to do.”

Savard, who finished with a game-high 21 points, opened the final period with a 3-pointer for Grace before a 3 from Brandon McQueen and two free-throws from Savard cut the deficit to single digits at 52-34. The Golden Eagles held the Patriots scoreless over a 3:20 span, which was capped by another Savard 3 that made it 54-53.

“Our pressure wore on them, but Grace got their second breath,” Dragoo said. “We helped them with that by putting them on the free throw line. That was not what we wanted to do. I thought we had them physically on the ropes after the third quarter, but we kept fouling them, so they got to stop, rest and score.”

When the Patriots finally made it to the line, they connected on 5 of 8 free throws in the final 1:27 to hold off the comeback attempt.  Andrew Godsey hit a late 3 to get Grace (4-11, 1-2) back within 59-58, but with the Golden Eagles out of timeouts, that proved to be their final shot of the game.

“I was really proud of the guys for the way they came back,” Mattheiss said. “We switched to man and challenged the guys to go head-to-head, and they really responded well. They started attacking the basket better and finally hit some shots. We could’ve mailed it in when we were 16 down, but we kept fighting and never quit. We keep having these close losses, but I told the guys if we keep working at it, eventually we’re going to turn that into some close wins.”

For the young Patriots, Dragoo hopes Friday’s close call will become a wakeup call about maintaining focus.

“They have to play for 32 minutes,” he said. “They have to focus for 32 minutes. I think the physical effort was there for the whole game, but I don’t think the mental focus, the ability to not let up, was there.”

(E-mail Jaime Barrett at


CSAS  19  9  21  10  --  59
Grace  16 11  8    23  --  58

CSAS (59) -- Carter 7, Moorer 8, Wheeler, Hamilton 5, Brown 3, Groves 8, Ratliff 2, Houston, Nick Moore 15, Lansden 6.

Grace (58) -- Will Slack 10, Roberts 8, Lyons 2, Blake Savard 21, Hughes, Godsey 5, McQueen 5, Matheny 6, Cooke 2.

3-point goals: CSAS 4 (Carter, Moorer, Hamilton, Brown); Grace 5 (Savard 3, Godsey, McQueen).

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