Comets win at free throw line

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / December 29, 1999

LAPLACE – Coaches always stress that games are won at the free throw line.

St. Charles Catholic took those words to heart Wednesday night, hittingnine-of-13 free throws in the second overtime period for a 64-59 victory over Riverside in the Comet gym.

“We’ve been concentrating on that,” St. Charles Catholic coach PhilipCavell said. “We’ve been taking more time in practice to work on them.”That extra practice paid off as Steven Washington hit three-of-four free throws and Nick Monica one-of-two to give the Comets a 57-55 lead with 1:53 left in the second overtime.

Two possessions later, Michael Bonura rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Michael Schoen and got the ball downcourt to Mike Mustian. Mustiandribbled around at the top of the key before bouncing a pass inside to Washington. Washington laid the ball up while being fouled, hitting thefoul shot to make it 60-55 with 43 seconds remaining.

Scotty Manson sandwiched two layups around two free throws by Mustian to cut the deficit to 62-59 with 14.32 seconds left. After a Riverside timeout, Monica took a deep pass from Mustian on the inbounds and was fouled. Monica missed both shots but Washington wasable to tip the ball back to him. Monica was again fouled, this time hittingboth ends to build the lead to 64-59 with 9.2 seconds remaining.”It was a great high school basketball game,” Cavell, whose team improved to 6-10, said. “It was something for the fans to enjoy and that’swhat high school athletics is all about. We were happy to be able to comeout on the end of a score for a change, with a W instead of a L.”Riverside fell to 4-6 on the season. Five of those losses have come by sixpoints or less.

“It was a real good game,” Riverside coach John White said. “It’s a shamewe didn’t win it but it was a good one. They hit their shots at the end. Weplayed good defense and had a chance at the end but our shots didn’t go down. We were tired. But we played a good game. The players gaveeverything to win but it didn’t happen.”Both teams scored on their opening possessions of the first overtime.

Daress Nicholas hit a jumper on the right baseline to put the Comets up 53-51 before Joel Levin answered for Riverside by taking a pass from Schoen inside. But that would be all the scoring as both teams went coldfrom the floor. St. Charles Catholic had a chance to win it at the end of theperiod but John Mitchell’s shot from the right baseline hit the rim with Manson getting the rebound for the Rebels.

Riverside took a 37-34 lead early in the fourth quarter on two free throws by Damien Melancon. St. Charles Catholic tied the game on a three-pointplay by Monica with the teams trading the lead for the rest of the quarter.

A three-point play by Mitchell put the Comets up, 49-47, with 3:11 left.

Riverside tied the game with 2:32 left as Schoen bounced a pass inside to Manson. After two free throws by Mitchell, Manson again took a pass fromSchoen and hit a jumper to tie the game at 51 with 41.35 seconds left inregulation. Both teams had a chance to win it but Mitchell rebounded amiss by the Rebels and the Comets turned the ball over on their end in the waning seconds.

Riverside led 29-27 at the break before the Comets went ahead as Washington drove inside with 6:42 left in the third quarter. Craig Tearneyanswered for the Rebels with a jumper from the left side before the Comets came back with a jumper by Nicholas and a drive by Washington.

Levin followed on the Rebels’ next possession with a drive inside and Tearney hit two free throws a possession later to give the Rebels a 35-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

St. Charles Catholic took a 9-6 with 3:36 left in the first quarter on a 3-pointer from the right wing by Mustian. Riverside rallied to take a 12-9lead on a jumper in the lane by Melancon before Mustian tied the game at the end of the quarter with a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Riverside opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run. Manson scored fromthe left baseline to open the scoring and Tearney and Levin scored inside to make it 18-12 with 5:21 left in the half. Drives by Levin, Melancon andTim Treas built the lead to 26-18.

A jumper from the free throw line by Nicholas opened a 7-1 run that brought the Comets to within two. Nicholas followed by taking a pass fromMustian inside and then hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to male it 27-25. Treas answered with a drive with the right side before Washingtoncame back with a drive of his own to cut the deficit to two at halftime.

Washington led all scorers with 16 points. Nicholas added 15 points, ninein the second quarter. Mustian chipped in with 11 points and Mitchell with10.

Levin led the Rebels with 15 points. Manson contributed 13 points whileMelancon added 11 and Tearney 10.

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