Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2012, 12:14 am
Maroons lose big lead, Dayton Tourney title
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By Steve Tappa, email@example.com
DeKALB -- Defending champ Moline put on a clinic in Friday's opening six minutes, scoring 18 of the first 20 points in the championship game of the 85th annual Chuck Dayton Classic.
However, after watching another confounding collapse by his club, in a head-scratching setback to unbeaten Winnebago, 63-56, Moline boys' basketball coach Jeff Schimmel needed to see the kind of clinician who uses confessional couches.
"We're pretty disappointed, especially after the big start,'' Schimmel said. "If it had been a back-and-forth game, and we ended up losing that way, I'd feel different. But to lose this way, like we have been? Frustrating.
"(Chicago) Englewood, we had them down 15 points and let them win. Alleman, we had another double digit lead and lost that one. And, we were up on (Western Big 6 Conference leader) Quincy and let that one go.
"Here we are doing the same things as before, letting another team off the hook. We just can't close a game.''
Too bad, because Moline (7-7) did so much right, including dishing out a whopping 19 assists, with seven of those helpers coming in the opening salvo.
Four Maroons finished in double figures including Jed Wood (16 points, six assists), Brandon Vice (12 points, eight rebounds), Derrick Stabler (10 points, all in the first quarter) and first-team all-tournament selection Drew Owens (11 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals).
"We had a good game plan,'' Schimmel said. "They probably didn't know what hit them. The first six minutes we took care of the ball, ran our stuff, made passes and got layups.
"They took a timeout and I told my guys, `We've been in this spot before. This is the time to keep the pedal down.' Instead, we stopped making plays and executing the game plan and old habits crept back in.
"Why we get away from what's working I don't know. And again, against pressure in a big game, we failed to take care of the ball. When we don't follow the script and try and do our own thing, bad things happen. That's not us. We have to be fundamental and do the little things.''
Winnebago (14-0), state ranked in Class 2A, also made that 18-2 lead disappear by finally heating up from the outside, knocking down 8-of-24 attempts from 3-point land and outrebounding the 4A Maroons 35-29.
"A lot of teams would have hung it up (down 18-2),'' Schimmel said. "But that's a good team and they battled back. You can see the difference between a team with a lot of confidence and one that doesn't like us. When they get behind, they don't panic. When they get the lead, they don't throw the ball around.''
The Indians forced ties at 24, 28 and 32 before finally taking a lead at 41-40 on an old-fashioned three-point play by all-tourney pick Matt Reinke (13 points, eight rebounds) with 1:53 remaining in the third quarter.
Winnebago never trailed again, and Moline never got closer than four points with 1:42 showing thanks to another first-team all-tourney performer, Jacoby Posely, keeping the Maroons at bay with game-highs in points (17), assists (eight), steals (four) and blocks (two).
The setback marked a 4-1 tourney run for Moline, which entered action at DeKalb High School with five straight losses.
"But with these guys, it's one step forward and two steps back,'' Schimmel said, eyeballing next weekend's start to the 2013 portion of the Maroons' schedule. "I don't know if we can forget this one, but we have to get over it really quick.''