SULLIVAN TWP. — When facing the reigning Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division champion, one bad stretch can be the difference between being competitive and stumbling out in a daze.
Black River found out the hard way Friday in a 94-63 league win by Keystone that could have been much worse.
It’s not that the Pirates (2-9, 1-9) played that badly as a whole, but one stretch was the knockout blow the Wildcats (9-8, 8-3) needed.
Black River went 5:07 without a basket late in the first period and early in the second as Keystone went on a 21-3 run. The Pirates committed nine turnovers in that stretch.
“That definitely needs to go away,” Black River coach Randy Endsley II said. “We talked all week about not turning the ball over against their pressure. … We just gave into that pressure. We didn’t see guys that were open. We can’t have seven turnovers in the first quarter.
“It was tough, especially when they were shooting the ball well. I don’t know how many threes they hit (10). It’s tough when teams are hitting. We just had a mental lapse tonight.”
The Pirates shot 16-for-27 (.592) in the first half, but the Wildcats rarely missed en route to a 57-40 lead.
With Ashton Waiter (16 points), Ethan Sokolowski (14), Sean Satterlee (14), Matt Mealwitz (13) and Bryan Sayers (10) putting down anything they threw up, Keystone was 18-for-32 (.563) at the break and 31-for-59 (.525) overall.
What’s more, the Wildcats committed just two turnovers in the first half and had Black River chasing them around the court.
“Honestly, it wasn’t as much them doing good as it was us doing bad,” Pirates center Jonathan Herb said. “Any team could go off and do what they did. We just hurt ourselves way too much today.
“Obviously, it shows how fundamental and unselfish they are. That’s always a problem we’re struggling with. We just don’t have enough guys stepping up and being able to do that. I don’t think it’s we have selfish players. It’s that when we give it to other players, they’re not doing what they need to do.”
Keystone traded layups for 3-pointers and let Herb (27 points, 10 rebounds) and Caleb Poldruhi (14, 7) get theirs. When the ball was in anyone else’s hands, the Wildcats were all over them.
“We talk about weathering storms,” Endsley said. “When teams get on runs, we need a stop and then we need a score to stop that. Too many times they came down and got a score. We wouldn’t get a stop and they’d score. We talk about runs and how to weather that. Tonight, we didn’t do a good job.”
The Keystone junior varsity won 60-25. Nathan Clifford had eight points to lead Black River.
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keystone 94, Black River 63
KEYSTONE 27 30 22 15 — 94
BLACK RIVER 13 27 13 10 — 63
Keystone — Mason Strader 2-0-4, Kevin Mealwitz 2-1-7, Matt Mealwitz 5-1-13, Ashton Waite 5-5-16, Ethan Sokolowski 4-5-14, Kollin Rodick 3-0-8, Dylan Naylor 0-2-2, Jacob Schackelford 1-3-5, Bryan Sayers 3-3-10, Sean Satterlee 6-1-14, Karson Cendrosky 0-1-1. TOTALS: 31-22-94.
Black River — Brennan Scheck 0-0-0, Caleb Simonson 4-1-9, Jonathan Herb 11-5-27, Devon McLean 2-3-7, Caleb Poldruhi 6-1-14, Jay Chidsey 2-0-6, Kyle Potter 0-0-0, Kobe Crites 0-0-0, Gavin Ford 0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-10-63.
3-point goals — Rodick 2, K. Mealwitz 2, M. Mealwitz 2, Waite, Rodick, Sayers, Satterlee, Chidsey 2, Poldruhi. Rebounds — Keystone 30 (Sayers 7), Black River 38 (Herb 10). Assists — Keystone 23 (Sokolowski 11), Black River 16 (Chidsey, McLean 5). Records — Keystone (9-8, 8-3), Black River (2-9, 1-9). Junior varsity — Keystone 60, Black River 25.