SULLIVAN TWP. — For a quarter and a half Friday night, everything was going to plan for Black River’s boys basketball team.
The Pirates were knocking down shots, getting stops and controlling tempo.
The feeling was short-lived, however, as Brookside took control behind the strength of junior center Kelvin Jones en route to a 58-32 drubbing of the Pirates in Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division action.
“Pressure has been an issue for us,” Black River coach Cynthia Berry said. “Sometimes we can’t set up into an offense that we’ve practiced and then we go through spells. I think it’s the inexperience, and being winless puts on more pressure.”
While the Pirates (0-16, 0-12) lost their 36th straight game, the Cardinals (5-12, 4-8) were able to close strong.
A 24-17 lead turned into a 20-point blowout in the second half thanks to the post play of Jones (career-high 23 points, 9 rebounds) and Brookside mixing up its defenses to keep Black River out of sync.
“We talked at halftime about playing fundamental defense,” Cardinals coach Brent Schremp said. “I thought in the first half we came out and overextended it. We weren’t really doing what we needed to do fundamentally and they took advantage of it.
“They were ready to play. We had to settle down and get back to being fundamentally sound and aggressive from there, and that seemed to be the difference.”
After Brookside finished the first half on an 8-0 run thanks to the play of guard Alex Robinson (13 points, game-high 6 assists), the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Jones went to work in the post, scoring eight straight points to open the second half.
“I just went for open looks, sealing my man and flashing to the ball to get open whenever I could,” said Jones, who made eight straight shots over one stretch and finished 10-for-14. “I would pump-fake and get my guy up (in the air).”
Jones’ hot streak gave way to a 12-4 run that extended the lead to 36-21 late in the third. Brookside then closed the game on a 16-4 spurt.
The Pirates came out of the gate clicking on all cylinders thanks to hot shooting from senior guard Zach Sword (12 points) and the interior play of center Caleb Stiver (6 points, 6 rebounds).
Black River’s lead disappeared early in the second before forward Tyler Potter converted an and-one opportunity to put Black River up 17-16 with 4:26 left in the half. It was the Pirates’ last lead and their only points of the quarter.
“We just get these frantic moments when things don’t go our way, and it’s that inexperience,” Berry said. “We have spells where we’re doing better, and then we just revert back.
“Breaking old habits is hard. Changing culture is hard. … It’s not that we don’t work hard. It’s just that sometimes you feel like you’re going through the motions, and you can’t go through the motions.”
|Sophomore Logan Goff had eight points as Black River’s junior varsity lost 37-32.|
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Brookside 58, Black River 32
BROOKSIDE 10 14 13 21 — 58
BLACK RIVER 14 3 8 7 — 32
Brookside — Cameron Drew 3-4-11, Tim Crnko 0-1-1, Christian Gray 1-0-2, Alex Robinson 5-3-13, Kelvin Jones 10-3-23, Nathan Keith 3-2-8, Mitto Agosto 0-0-0, Bryan Tren 0-0-0, Nathan Kaleta 0-0-0. TOTALS: 22-13-58.
Black River — Anton Hsia 2-0-4, Stephen Zumack 0-0-0, Caleb Stiver 3-0-6, Jerod England 0-0-0, Zach Sword 5-1-12, Tyler Potter 2-1-5, Allan Benson 1-3-5, Jared Herb 0-0-0, Aaron Schmitz 0-0-0, Gabe Eaton 0-0-0. TOTALS: 13-5-32.
3-point goals — Drew, Sword. Rebounds — Brookside 35 (Jones 9), Black River 24 (Stiver 6). Assists — Brookside 13 (Robinson 6), Black River 7 (Hsia, Sword, Zumack 2). Records — Brookside (5-12, 4-8), Black River (0-16, 0-12). Junior varsity — Brookside 37, Black River 32.