By ROB HAMILTON
The second quarter proved decisive for Galion on Tuesday night when they traveled to Cardington for a non-league basketball game.
Trailing 16-13 entering the period, they dominated those eight minutes, outscoring the Pirates 18-3 to take a 31-19 lead in a game they would hold on to win 61-53.
Galion held Cardington scoreless for the opening 4:40 of the quarter, as they got four points from Chase Cooke and a three-pointer from Zach Phelps to help them go on an 11-0 run that put them up 24-16 — a lead they would not lose.
“In the second quarter, we just used our length and were able to string together a good second and end of the fourth,” said Tiger coach Colby Bright.
Cardington coach Rod Brown noted that his team has struggled in the second quarter and at shooting free throws so far this season.
“The second has killed us,” he said. “In the last two games, we had great first quarters and struggled the rest of the game. We went into tonight shooting 49 percent from the line and tonight, we were 11-of-20. We got lucky squeaking out wins against Highland and East Knox, but didn’t tonight.”
Strong three-point shooting staked Cardington to an early lead. After Galion jumped out to a 6-2 advantage, the Pirates got a three-pointer from Dalton Snider, followed by Trey Williams getting two points on a defensive goaltending call against the Tigers.
The two teams would trade scores the rest of the quarter, but a pair of long-range shots by Garrett Wagner and one from Devin Pearl put the Pirates in front 16-11. However, Galion was able to score on a Houston Blair shot with two seconds remaining in the period to close within three.
The Tigers would dominate the second quarter, though, to take a 12-point lead into the half. Despite having a double-digit lead, Bright noted that after the JV game, he didn’t want his team to take anything for granted going into the second half.
“We talked at halftime that the JV went up 13, piddled it away and lost,” he said. “I give them (Cardington) credit. They’re scrappy and didn’t give up.”
The Tigers were able to maintain a lead in the double-digit range for most of the third quarter, as neither squad was able to maintain any momentum. Brown noted that his team was hurt by Williams being in foul trouble for large stretches in the second and third quarters, as with him out, his team was at a serious size disadvantage against Galion.
“They’re a big team and were able to throw over us every once in a while,” he said. “We went to a half-court trap to get defense and steals. Not having Trey in hurts us. He’s our only true post player.”
Trailing 44-34, Cardington finished the quarter with two Pearl free throws and a three-pointer by Skyler Bowling to close within five. They would then open the fourth with a pair of Snider foul shots followed by one by Williams to close within two.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, that was as close as they would get. Kalvin Rinehart scored six points for Galion in slightly over one minute to put them up 50-45 and Cardington would be unable to get closer than three points the rest of the way, as the Tigers hit enough free throws down the stretch to hold on to their lead.
“Kalvin’s a senior for us,” said Bright. “Big players step up at big times and he stepped up.”
Snider led Cardington with 11 points, while Williams scored 10, Pearl tallied nine and Derek Goodman finished with eight. Brown feels that a big key to his team improving as the season goes along will be for some of his shooters to heat up.’
“We have some good shooters yet to get hot,” he said. “We need to get Devin as many touches as possible. Galion did good guarding him, but we need to give him more touches. Garrett shot good early and Derek plays so hard, but has had foul troubles.”
The Tigers got 13 points from both Rinehart and Blair, while Cooke added 12 and Colton Moore had eight. After dropping a pair of close league games, Bright said it was nice to come out on the winning side of a hard-fought contest.
“It’s really good,” he said. “It’s a tough conference and we’re getting battle-tested, which will be good for us in the long run.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS