LAGRANGE — Buckeye’s high-scoring boys ran into Keystone’s focused defense Friday night.
The defense and some timely foul shooting kept the Wildcats in the thick of the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division race.
They made 13 foul shots in the fourth quarter, which was enough to boost them to a 47-36 victory over the Bucks, who had been averaging nearly twice that many points in their first three games. Keystone held them to single-digit scoring in all but the first quarter.
Keystone got a game-high 15 points from Kyle Smith, who had the team’s only 3-point baskets. Mike Herb, who scored 12, turned in a big rebounding job as Keystone controlled the backboards, 37-24.
“We boxed and rebounded very well tonight,” said Wildcats coach Greg Morgan. “Mike did a great job for us, especially on the offensive boards.”
Herb also had a big blocked shot in the final 31 seconds and hit the floor hard after taking control of an offensive rebound. Herb, who injured his right arm, said he will have it examined.
“I shot a foul shot and it came right back to me,” said Herb. “I was going to the hole and got fouled by two people. I came down on my arm and it got hyperextended or something. There were some elbows flying in there tonight, but you just have to get through that. It comes with playing basketball.”
Keystone (3-2, 2-1 PAC) led 24-16 at the half and opened the margin to 10 points in the first minute of the third quarter. But Buckeye (2-2, 2-1 PAC) went on a 9-0 run and cut the deficit to 28-27 going into the final eight minutes.
The other side of the Wildcats’ foul-shooting story is that while they made 13 in the fourth quarter, they shot 26. And the 17 they made for the game were half as many as they took.
But the defense was solid.
“Defensively, I thought we did an excellent job,” said Morgan. “I was also very, very happy with the guys offensively, which has been our issue. The way we practiced carried over to the game. A couple of possessions we did a good job of running our delay again. “
The Keystone win created a three-way tie for the Stars Division lead with Buckeye and Wellington.
“This was huge for us, especially since Buckeye beat Wellington,” said Herb. “This puts us right back in it.”
Keystone’s loss was to Wellington.
Contact Bob Daniels at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Keystone 47, Buckeye 36
BUCKEYE (36): Mike Smetana 4-0-8, Darren Boulton 2-0-4, Tom Vraja 0-0-0, Cory Reisner 2-2-6, Billy Relitz 1-0-3, Rick Smetana 0-0-0, Darrin Reed 0-3-3, Brad Oddo 0-0-0, Logan Weiland 5-2-12. Totals: 14-7-36.
KEYSTONE (47): Cory Smith 0-2-2, Jimmy Reid 0-1-1, Kyle Shaw 0-1-1, Corey Dill 0-0-0, Kyle Smith 5-3-15, Matt Osborne 1-1-3, Matt Herb 4-3-11, Mike Herb 3-6-12, Jeff Knepper 1-0-2. Totals 14-17-47.
Buckeye 8 8 11 9 — 36
Keystone 13 11 4 19 — 47
Three-point goals: Buckeye 1-6 (Relitz); Keystone 2-8 (K. Smith 2). Field goals: Buckeye 14-44 (32 percent); Keystone 14-49 (29 percent). Free throws: Buckeye 7-13; Keystone 17-34. Rebounds: Buckeye 24; Keystone 37. Turnovers: Buckeye 18; Keystone 16. Fouled out: Relitz. Technical foul: Buckeye coach King.
Junior varsity: Keystone, 56-25.