The Cardinals (3-6, 3-2 PAC) led most of the night but a scoreless stretch that spanned seven minutes over the final two quarters allowed the Wildcats to take a 40-33 lead with 4:41 to play.
It seemed the home team was on the verge of caving in. But baseline layups by Christian Gray and Kelvin Jones on each side of a long jumper by Alex Robinson closed the score to 40-39 with 2:28 left.
At that point, the game shifted again as Keystone guards Collin Fitzgerald and Matt Bastock took over. Fitzgerald, who led the Wildcats (3-6, 2-3) with 16 points, all in the second half, hit four free throws, while Bastock added four more points during a 12-8 run that put the game away.
“This was Collin’s first start of the year,” Keystone coach Jeff Holzhauer said of the junior. “I’ve enjoyed having him come off the bench because he comes off it with energy. He attacks and he fights.
“We just decided to start him tonight and he did what he’s been doing for us. It resulted in more free throws. He was the guy we wanted with the ball in his hands late in the game because he is one of our better free throw shooters.”
The Wildcats were hindered by a slow start. Brookside took a 13-5 lead after the first quarter as 6-foot-5 junior Kelvin Jones scored seven points in the paint, while the Wildcats could only hit two of 13 shots and committed five early turnovers.
The Brookside lead narrowed to three by halftime, 19-16, as each team committed 10 turnovers in the first half.
“That’s the way we’ve been playing all year,” Holzhauer said about the lackluster first half. “Brookside had a good game plan and pounded the post. They were hurting us. We’re a really emotional team and once we started to make some stops defensively, things began to click offensively for us.”
That was certainly the case for Fitzgerald, who opened the second half with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 21-19 and added four more points after driving and pulling up for a pair of short jump shots. With his team trailing 33-32 entering the final quarter, he hit a second 3-pointer and finished with nine points in the quarter.
“Shots just weren’t falling in the first half,” Fitzgerald said. “And I wasn’t really cutting as hard as I could to get open. The coach kind of got on us and once we started cutting hard, everyone was getting open. Sometimes I had little (offensive) bursts, but tonight was really the first time it kept going.”
The Keystone scoring was balanced as seven of eight Wildcats scored. Matt Bastock added 10 points for Keystone, while Jones scored 15 and Alex Robinson added 10 for Brookside.
“Both teams played hard and battled,” Cardinals coach Brent Schremp said. “We were two bigger teams who bumped and pushed. We did establish ourselves in the first quarter but they switched to a 1-2-2 and we didn’t adjust to it as well as we could. And they attacked us and we stepped back a little bit, which we can’t do, but we came back at them and got back into a position to win. We just have to continue to grow.”
Contact Jim Jablonski at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keystone 52, Brookside 47
KEYSTONE (52): Collin Fitzgerald 4-6-16, C.J. Conrad 3-1-7, Chase Robison 2-1-5, Brandon Kuhl 1-1-3, Adam Hopkins 3-2-8, K.J. Williams 0-0-0, Matt Bastock 4-2-10, Austin Conrad 1-0-3. Totals 18-13-52.
BROOKSIDE (47): Kelvin Jones 6-3-15, Alex Robinson 4-2-10, Cameron Drew 1-2-5, Tim Crnko 2-0-5, Nathan Keith 3-0-6, Bryan Tran 0-0-0, Christian Gray 2-0-4, Mitto Agosto 1-0-2. Totals 19-7-47.
Keystone 5 11 16 20 — 52
Brookside 13 6 14 14 — 47
Three-point goals: Keystone 3-12 (Fitzgerald 2, Conrad), Brookside 2-5 (Drew, Crnko). Field goals: Keystone 19-39 (49 percent). Free throws: Keystone 13-19 (68 percent), Brookside 7-9 (78 percent). Rebounds: Keystone 30, Brookside 20. Turnovers: Keystone 17, Brookside 15. Total fouls: Keystone 13, Brookside 15.
Junior varsity: Keystone, 27-25.