Cavaliers defeat Trojans, 63-57
By Daniel Winningham
Games often aren’t won or lost in the fourth quarter in the final possessions. In many cases, a team’s play early on can carry it to a victory — or build a large enough advantage that even the most furious of rallies cannot overcome. That was the case for Carlinville High School’s boys varsity basketball team, which got past Auburn High School 63-57 Jan. 5, despite getting out-scored 51-50 in the final three quarters and 41-32 in the second half.
The Cavaliers led by as many as 16 points in the first half and by 19 points in the third quarter before Auburn began coming back.
“I totally expected them to make a run,” CHS coach Alan Cooper said.
The Trojans used a 31-14 second-half run to cut a 39-20 game into just a two-point deficit at 53-31 with a little more than 90 seconds left. CHS converted five of six free throws from there to earn the home win.
Carlinville led 13-6 after the first quarter, and many of the home team’s opening baskets came directly after offensive rebounds.
“I think they came out a little flat and that definitely played into our favor because we did a much better job playing defense,” Cooper said. “We gave up some long-range shots there late when they made their run but for the most part we didn’t allow their cuts to the basket and didn’t allow them too many easy buckets.”
Kyle Kleeman tallied 27 points to pace CHS. Kleeman converted 11 field goals and was five of seven from the free-throw line. Barry Stewart scored 15 points while Joeb Easterday came off the bench to add 12 points. Stewart had Carlinville’s only 3-pointer and was a perfect six-for-six from the free throw line.
CHS raced to a 6-2 lead, then after Auburn cut the lead to 6-4, went on a 7-0 run to build its early edge to 13-4 before Jarrod Krofchick’s rebound and putback beat the first-quarter buzzer. In the second quarter, a Trojans’ basket cut the lead to 15-8 before CHS went on an 9-0 run to go in front 24-8. The Cavaliers closed the half on a 7-4 and were on top 31-16 after two quarters.
Toward the end of the third quarter, Auburn rattled off a 7-0 run to get within single digits at 41-32. The rally continued in the fourth quarter and a basket from Austin Muench trimmed the CHS lead to just two points at 53-51. A 3-pointer made moments later cut the score to 56-54. CHS responded with two free throws to make it 58-54. A lane violation on Auburn’s second free throw kept CHS in front 58-55. The Blue Jays were unable to get any closer.
Carlinville improved to 10-7 overall with the win, and is now 3-1 in home games. The win total is already more than CHS had a year ago. Auburn fell to 7-6 with the six-point loss. The Trojans entered the game at Carlinville looking to win their second game in as many days as they defeated New Berlin 77-57 Jan. 4.
Cooper Eaker led Auburn with 25 points. Teammate Austin Muench contributed 12 points while Korben Clark added nine points.
County tourney up next
Carlinville returns to action Saturday, Jan. 12, against Bunker Hill in Staunton at 6 p.m. for its opening game of the Macoupin County Tournament.
CHS also faces No. 7 Mt. Olive Monday, Jan. 14, and takes on No. 2 Staunton Friday, Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m.
The Cavaliers also will play Saturday, Jan. 19, in one of the place games, though the exact time of its contests is determined by how the first three games go.
Cooper discussed CHS getting the No. 3 seeding.
“I think it’s a pretty good seed,” Cooper said of Carlinville’s No. 3 overall seeding, which is behind No. 1 North Mac and No. 2 Staunton. If we don’t come to play, we could get knocked off.”
Carlinville vs. Auburn box score
Auburn 6 10 18 23 – 57
Carlinville 13 18 12 20 – 63
Auburn (7-6) Jared Wilson 0 0 0-0 0; Korben Clark 3 0 3-6 9; Scott McDermand 1 0 0-0 2; Austin Muench 1 3 1-2 12; Wes Coplin 2 0 0-0 4; Cooper Eaker 11 0 3-3 25; Jarrod Krofchick 1 0 1-2 3; Shannen Tanner 1 0 0-0 2. Totals 20 3 8-13 57.
Carlinville (10-7) Kinney Myles 0 0 0-0 0; Elijah Barber 0 0 1-2 1; Barry Stewart 3 1 6-6 15; Sean McCaherty 0 0 1-2 1; Kyle Kleeman 11 0 5-7 27; Adelmo Marchiori 2 0 3-4 7; Joeb Easterday 6 0 0-0 12; Ben Butcher 0 0 0-2 0; Totals 22 1 16-23 63.