Basketball is a game of runs.
As Conneaut learned on Tuesday night, the game is fun when you’re on a good run, like the 8-0 run the Spartans went on to open its home game with Cardinal.
And not so fun when you’re opposite side, like the 22-4 run the Huskies went on to close out the first half and open the third quarter that ultimately doomed Conneaut as it fell, 79-66.
All told, the Huskies turned a one-point halftime lead (36-35) to a 16-point advantage heading into the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to the Spartans turning the ball over 12 times in the period (34 on the night), which was more than the points they scored in the quarter (10).
“Turnovers, that was the story of the night,” Conneaut coach Tim Tallbacka said. “You score 60 points and turn the ball over 30 or so times, that’s hard to do.”
Things started to slip away from Conneaut in the second quarter when it led 35-30, but let that five-point lead disappear when the Huskies were able to put six points on the board in the closing seconds.
Tallbacka felt that was the turning point in the game.
“There were two possessions where they had five-point possessions,” he said. “The last two, they came down off a turnover and that momentum carried over to the second half. We had two shots to score to start the half and didn’t convert and it got away from us.”
Jason Farmwald wreaked havoc on the Spartans throughout, scoring a game-high 23 points thanks in large part to his nine steals.
“They’re our Energizer Bunnies,” Cardinal coach John Cummins said of Farmwald and his runningmate Brian Kaser (17 points). “We want them to create havoc and put pressure on opposing teams then penetrate in transition.”
Cardinal did plenty of that in forcing 34 Spartan turnovers, but the Huskies were far from perfect themselves in giving the ball away 27 times.
Tallbacka felt that his team wasn’t able to take advantage of those chances though.
“It seemed like there were nine or 10 possessions where they turned it over and we threw it right back to them,” he said. “We just didn’t keep our composure and get over that hump when things didn’t go well. We have a lot of seniors and I’m confident we’ll get over that hump eventually. It’s gotta happen.”
The Spartans came out of the gates firing as Christian Williams (17 points) hit two 3’s to help Conneaut jump out to that 8-0 advantage and eventually hold on to a 20-15 first-quarter lead.
But once that evaporated and the advantage was pushed to 16 by Cardinal, the Spartans were never able to get on a run to get the deficit down to single digits.
Conneaut did cut the lead to 11, midway through the fourth quarter, but an Alec Hill (10 points) 3-pointer coming out of a Spartans timeout with 4:20 remaining doomed any chances of a comeback.
“We’ve got General McClain next Tuesday so it doesn’t get any easier,” Tallbacka said. “We’ll look at the film of this one, analyze it and take away from it what we can and do our best to improve.”
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