HENRIETTA TWP. — Keystone used a smothering trapping defense to keep its Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division title hopes alive Friday, forcing 25 turnovers in a 55-42 victory over Firelands.
The Wildcats trail one-loss Buckeye atop the division standings, and will face the Bucks at home in their season finale.
The Wildcats (13-5, 11-2) jumped all over the Falcons early, forcing six first-quarter turnovers and holding the Falcons to just
2-of-13 shooting from the floor to take an 18-5 lead after the first period.
The Falcons (6-9, 3-8) never recovered.
Firelands pulled within 33-26 midway through the third quarter, but the Wildcats didn’t let them get any closer.
“That was one of our better defensive performances for four quarters,” Keystone coach Jeff Holzhauer said. “Our half-court man was excellent and we threw some different traps at them that worked OK. I thought we caused them a lot of problems and made it hard for them to do the things that they do well.”
Keystone dominated the rebounding battle, grabbing 41 to the Falcons’ 28. Of those 41 rebounds, 22 were on the offensive end and led to 34 second-chance points.
C.J. Conrad led the Wildcats with 10 rebounds while Jacob Miller added eight and Austin Conrad seven.
“Our ability to get offensive rebounds was a huge difference tonight,” Holzhauer said. “When you get one, two, three, four offensive rebounds, then make a shot on one possession, it’s demoralizing.”
Firelands coach Brett Bartlett said his team’s two keys coming into the game were taking care of the ball and rebounding.
“We didn’t do either of those,” he said. “They beat us up on the boards and, offensively, we didn’t take care of the ball.”
Colin Fitzgerald had seven steals off the bench for the Wildcats.
“All week we work on defensive positioning,” Fitzgerald said. “We do the shell defense drill every day in practice and it’s all about help-side defense, helping your teammates out. The team was pressuring the ball very well tonight and it left a lot of steals wide open for us.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Keystone 55, Firelands 42
KEYSTONE (55): C.J. Conrad 4-4-12, Austin Conrad 6-1-13, K.J. Williams 3-0-7, Matt Bastock 4-2-12, Brandon Kuhl 2-2-6, Jacob Miller 1-0-2, Marcus Gunter 1-0-3, Jake Bowers 0-0-0. Totals 21-9-55.
FIRELANDS (42): Logan Sittinger 0-0-0, Cole Sklarek 2-0-5, Casey Smith 3-2-11, Jonathan Sigsworth 2-1-5, Colin Myers 3-0-6, James Willbond 3-0-9, Jordan Ruffner 0-3-3, Dakotah Klingshirn 1-0-3. Totals 14-6-42.
Keystone 18 13 10 14 — 55
Firelands 5 11 15 11 — 42
Three-point goals: Keystone 4-10 (Bastock 2, Williams, Gunter), Firelands 8-17 (Smith 3, Willbond 3, Klingshirn). Field goals: Keystone 21-57 (36.8 percent), Firelands 14-40 (35 percent). Free throws: Keystone 9-16 (56.2 percent), Firelands 6-8 (75 percent). Rebounds: Keystone 41 (C.J. Conrad 10), Firelands 28 (Myers 8). Turnovers: Keystone 13, Firelands 25. Total fouls: Keystone 10, Firelands 12.
Junior varsity: Keystone, 30-22