St. Joseph holds off Rebels

Published 5:39 am Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If the St. Joseph Flyers were an automobile, they would have to seriously consider removing the cruise control switch.

The Flyers squandered a big lead in the second half before holding on to beat the South Gallia Rebels 54-50 Monday in the Division IV sectional semifinals.

Flyers’ assistant coach Nate Kline, filling in for head coach Kevin Sheridan serving the second of a two-game suspension after being ejected from a game last week, said his team failed to continue their strong first half play.

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“We talked at halftime about playing with intensity, but we lost some of our intensity and it looked like we put it on cruise in the second half,” said Kline.

St. Joseph (11-9) will have to run with its engines wide open next Tuesday when the Flyers play No. 4-ranked Oak Hill at 6:15 p.m. in the sectional finals.

“We’ve got a big challenge in front of us. We’ll see how well we accept it,” said Kline.

The Flyers missed seven layup attempts in the first quarter and saw an 8-2 lead evaporate into a 10-10 tie at the end of the quarter.

But the defense picked up in the second quarter as the Flyers held the Rebels to 2-of-10 shooting from the field including 0-of-4 from behind the arc.

Two foul shots by Chad Harvey, a layup by Joseph Unger and two free throws from Tanner Riley gave St. Joseph a 20-12 lead.

After a layup by Jacob Watson got the Rebels within 20-14, the Flyers went on a 7-0 run to close the half including a layup by T.J. Young off a pass from Payton Blair with five seconds on the clock and it was 27-14 at the break.

Harvey took a pass from Blackburn and scored to begin the second half and give the Flyers a 29-14 lead.

That’s when the Flyers began to shut down.

South Gallia scored 10 straight points with four coming off layups to cut the deficit to 29-24.

A steals by Caleb McClannahan and layup by Brandon Harrison sliced the Flyers’ lead to 35-32. But the Rebels fouled Blair putting up a desperation shot from past halfcourt with two-tenths of a second on the clock and Blair hit all three shots to give the Flyers a 40-34 lead.

“That was a big play. It turned the momentum back in our favor. Payton really clutched up by making all three shots,” said Kline.

South Gallia trailed by two points on three occasions in the fourth quarter with the final time coming with 17 seconds left to play on a 3-pointer by Cory Haner that put the score at 52-50.

The Flyers broke the Rebels’ full-court pressure and a layup by Unger with three seconds to play sealed the win.

Harvey, still feeling the effects of the flu, had 13 points and eight rebounds. Blair scored 12 points to go with two assists and two steals, Unger scored a career-high 13 points, and Blackburn added eight points and eight rebounds.

South Gallia (9-12) was just 2-of-16 from 3-point range and missed its first 13 attempts. The Rebels shot 21-of-52 from the field that included 14 layups.

Watson scored 18 to lead the Rebels and Harrison added 10.

St. Joseph 10 17 13 14 = 54

South Gallia 10 4 20 16 = 50

ST. JOSEPH (10-8): Payton Blair 2 1 5-5 12, Chad Harvey 5 0 3-5 13, Joey Basedow 1 0 0-1 2, Joseph Unger 5 0 3-7 13, Caleb Blackburn 2 0 4-6 8, T.J. Young 1 0 0-0 2, Tanner Riley 1 0 2-2 4, Pat Gagai 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-39 17-26 54. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 1-6. Rebounds: 8 off, 15 def -= 23 (Blackburn 8, Harvey 8). Team/deadball rebounds: None. Assists: 13 (Blackburn 5, Harvey 2, Blair 2, Basedow 2). Steals: 5 (Blair 2). Turnovers: 14. Blocked shots: Harvey 1, Basedow 1.

SOUTH GALLIA (9-12): Jacob Watson 6 0 6-8 18, Brandon Harrison 5 0 0-0 10, Caleb McClannahan 3 1 0-0 9, Bryce Clary 0 0 0-0 0, Dalton Matney 2 0 0-0 4, A.J. McDaniel 0 0 0-0 0, Cory Haner 1 1 0-0 5, Matt Hall 1 0 0-0 2, Levi Ellis 0 0 0-0 0, Danny Matney 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 21-52 6-8 50. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: Clary (4th 2:40). 3-point goals: 2-16. Rebounds: 16 off, 20 def = 36 (Watson 9, McClannahan 9). Assists: 4 (Watson 2). Steals: 5 (Watson 2). Turnovers: 15.