ELYRIA — First Baptist’s Chase Parker was going to need a little help from some friends if his Sabres were going to come from behind to beat Monclova Christian on Thursday night.
After scoring 18 of his team’s first 20 points, Parker’s teammates joined in and helped him erase a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter to come back and defeat the Thunder, 41-36, in non-conference action.
Parker finished with a game-high and career-best 23 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. He scored all 12 of his team’s points in the second quarter and nine in the decisive fourth. Matt Plog joined in with 11 points, including two clutch 3-pointers in the third, while Corey Williams scored all five of his points in the fourth, including a big 3-pointer.
“I can’t make every shot so I’m happy my teammates stepped up,” said Parker, who shot 9-of-14 from the field. “I tried to stay aggressive and drive, kick out to Matt Plog and he was able to knock down some threes.”
Plog’s clutch shots came at the right time. Down 26-20 late in the third quarter, Plog made back-to-back threes that kept the Sabres in the game going into the fourth quarter.
“I missed a couple wide open threes in the first half so those felt good,” Plog said. “I had a couple nice looks, our offense got me open. I just took the shots and they fell in. I wanted to do my part and I was happy to be able to get it going.”
The Sabres (2-2) dominated the fourth quarter, outscoring the Thunder 15-6. After Monclova Christian’s Tim LaChance’s field goal extended the Thunder lead to six early in the quarter, the Sabres went on a 11-0 run.
Parker’s field goal at the 5:29 mark gave the Sabres their first lead since early in the first. Plog’s field goal, just inside the arc, gave the Sabres a 37-32 lead at the 4:07 mark. The Sabres held the Thunder to 3-of-11 shooting in the final quarter.
“We played a lot more intense in the fourth quarter,” Parker said. “Coach told us to get in their face. We definitely needed to turn it up. In the first half, we were sagging off, not playing aggressive.”
After trailing most of the game, First Baptist head coach Paul Schotz switched up his conservative defense to a more aggressive one.
“At the end of the third I told my guards to ball-pressure hard,” Schotz said. “We needed to do something to turn up the pressure because they were doing whatever they wanted.”
Schotz was happy with Parker’s big night, and knows he has big shoes to fill after his brother Luke, who averaged 26 points per game last season, graduated.
“He’s our best offensive player,” Schotz said. “He’s the one that can create a shot the best. He’s also the one that drives me nuts by taking too many shots sometimes, but we got him to settle down tonight and pick and choose his spots.”
First Baptist 41, Monclova Christian 36
MONCLOVA CHRISTIAN (36): Tim LaChance 5-0-10, Tom LaChance 0-0-0, Tyler Patterson 3-0-6, Zach Bergquist 3-2-8, Matt Cousino 1-0-2, Stephen Goniea 4-2-10, Aaron Iffland 0-0-0. Totals 16-4-36.
FIRST BAPTIST (41): Chase Parker 9-3-23, Matt Plog 4-1-11, Corey Williams 2-0-5, Brett Smelling 0-0-0, Chad Parker 1-0-2, Devin Kime 0-0-0, Matthew Kudlo 0-0-0. Totals 16-4-41.
Monclovia Christian 8 10 12 6 — 36
First Baptist 4 12 10 15 — 41
Three-point goals: Monclova Christian (none); First Baptist (Chase Parker 2, Plog 2, Williams). Field goals: Monclova Christian 16-41 (39 percent); First Baptist 16-35 (46 percent); Free throws: Monclova Christian 4-5 (80 percent); First Baptist 4-11 (36 percent); Rebounds: Monclova Christian 24; First Baptist 28; Turnovers: Monclova Christian 13, First Baptist 17.