LaBrae surges in fourth to steal win at Campbell
By John BasseTTI
Undefeated LaBrae’s defensive pressure produced a flurry of fourth-quarter turnovers enabling the Vikings to shock Campbell, 64-50, in Friday’s All-American Conference Blue Tier battle.
When the dust settled, LaBrae (17-0, 7-0) had flipped Campbell’s 42-35 lead into a 54-44 deficit and outscored the home team in the fourth quarter, 26-8.
After making four turnovers in the first half, the Red Devils (9-10, 4-6) finished with 17.
“The fourth quarter was huge,” said LaBrae coach Chad Kiser, whose team already had clinched the league title.
The game was a lot different from the Feb. 3 game when LaBrae beat Campbell, 77-46.
This time, the halftime score was 31-31 and Campbell led after three quarters, 42-38.
Tyler Stephens had a game-high 26 points for the winners, while Campbell’s top scorers were Trea Edwards with 15 and Nick Kouros and Eric Van Cobb with 13 apiece.
Kiser said that a lot of the blitz was the result of “team pressure.”
“I thought our defense really stepped up,” the coach said of a flurry of steals by Benton Tennant, Logan Kiser and Connor Meyer. Those thefts turned into transition buckets.
“Tyler came alive in the fourth by hitting a couple threes because we moved the ball around a little and attacked the basket and spread them out a little after we got the lead,” Kiser said. “Once we got the lead, we switched into a zone defense with about two minutes left and that slowed them down.”
Stephens had 15 of his points in the last 5:52.
LaBrae struggled shooting free throws in the first half, making just 4 of 11, but recovered to hit 11 of 14 in the final quarter, thanks to several technical fouls assessed against Campbell players.
Campbell coach Nick Canterino said that LaBrae’s full-court pressure started to wear down his Red Devils in the third quarter, leading to lazy turnovers in the last quarter.
“We were up four going into the fourth, but then it unraveled for us,” Canterino said. “We had four or five straight turnovers at one point and they had a 14-0 run.
“It’s tough to come back after that,” Canterino said.
Meyer has been in the lineup since Aaron Iler hurt his back a week ago, but will return next week, Kiser said.
In a lineup adjustment, LaBrae’s regular point guard moved point to the wing and Meyer played the point. The 5-foot-9 freshman scored only four points, but his play was vital when it counted the most, helped the unbeaten Vikings to capitalize on Campbell’s collapse.