South Range rallies late against Ursuline


Raiders rally from

nine-point deficit

to take opener

By MIKE McLAIN

sports@vindy.com

BEAVER TOWNSHIP

The South Range Raiders didn’t waste much time finding their midseason form, even if it was the season opener.

After trailing the Ursuline Irish most of the first three quarters, the Raiders shook off the expected rust during a 13-point run early in the fourth quarter in rallying to a 58-54 non-conference win Tuesday.

The Irish took a 43-36 lead into the fourth period and appeared poised to pull after a 3-point shot by Pat McLaughlin at the end of the third. Ursuline increased its lead to 48-39 in the final session when the Raiders went on their run.

South Range tied the score at 48-48 when Nick Matos drove for a layup following a steal. Chris Brooks and Jaxon Anderson, the two scoring stars for the Raiders, finished the spurt with fielders to give South Range a 52-48 lead.

The Irish got as close as 52-50 on a field goal by Johnny Rowland but they weren’t able to close the deal as their record dropped to 0-2.

“We had to get into a defensive mindset and get stops and scores,” said Brooks, who finished with a game-high 22 points. “Nick Matos did a great job coming off the bench in the fourth quarter. He really sparked us.”

Brooks mentioned the importance of getting the win on a night that was dedicated to third-grade student Hannah Tringhese, who is battling brain cancer. An auction was held outside the gymnasium to raise money for the family. Hannah and her family were honored early in the first quarter.

“We really wanted this game,” Brooks said. “It was the first game of the year and we were playing for a great cause. We were playing for Hannah. I thought we did a great job of coming back and playing with a lot of guts in the second half.”

Brooks and Anderson, who added 21 points, took control in the second half. Brooks scored 17 of his points in the half, while Anderson scored 12 points.

“When they started gambling a little more we got a little bit in transition off of that,” Raiders coach John Cullen said. “Plus, once we went inside, that was attacking. That’s not their strength. Their strength is quickness on the perimeter. They have strong guys, but they’re not that big. Once we got them isolated in the second half, that’s when Brooksie went off.”

The Irish had considerable success shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, particularly in opening a 32-24 halftime lead. Ursuline made seven of its 11 3-point shots in the half, including four by Daysean Harris, who had 20 points.

Depending on 3-point shots and a lack of consistency on defense ultimately hurt the Irish.

“Right now our team thinks offense is way more important than defense,” Irish coach Keith Gunther said. “Every team I’ve ever coached has always been gritty, tough, lock you down and make you struggle for every shot you get. This team thinks offense wins, and that’s not how games are supposed to be won at Ursuline.”

Gunther also felt his team tired in the second half. Harris was limited to four points in the half and the Irish had just 22 as a team.

Part of the issue was the strong defensive play of the Raiders.

“Coach really emphasizes defense,” Brooks said. “We work on keying separate guys, and we work on special situations. Right there (in the fourth quarter) was a great example. We need stops but we need to score.”

The Raiders stepped up big time on Hannah’s night.

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