Chargers comeback attempt stopped short
The once growing lead had slowed to a trickle, and AC/GC suddenly had life again.
A tireless effort throughout the third quarter gave renewed hope to the young Charger squad on Monday night, February 13, against South Central Calhoun. But, almost as soon as that hope appeared, it was taken away.
The Titans held off the Chargers 57-43, ending the inaugural season for the Chargers in an almost cruel fashion.
“We knew that South Central Calhoun was a solid team, but we felt like we would be able to compete if we could put a complete game together,” AC/GC head coach Jake Mohling said. “To me, that’s been our problem, is we can’t go a full four quarters with solid defense, ball control, and scoring. There are games we can take care of the ball, but the scoring isn’t there. Games we can take care of the ball and score, but the defense isn’t there. I felt like we played defense well enough and took care of the ball relatively well since we only had 15 turnovers, but we didn’t have the balanced scoring we needed.”
Throughout the third quarter the Chargers were able to chip away at a once 15-point lead that the Titans had put up at halftime.
The comeback started late in the second quarter when freshman Bryce Littler had been able to find his long-range shots, draining three three-pointers back-to-back.
The Chargers used halftime to regroup and recharge. They came out of the break with a renewed defensive effort that shut down the passing lanes of South Central Calhoun. The only problem for the Chargers was, their early third quarter shots, didn’t want to bathe in the white nylon. Three point attempts by juniors Quenton Spack and Wardyn skipped off the rim, and away from Charger players.
Despite being at a height disadvantage to the Titans, and having to play catch-up, the Chargers weren’t afraid to challenge South Central Calhoun inside the paint. Not being able to win the battle inside the key, the Titans dished the ball outside, where their shots, fell short, into AC/GC’s hands.
Senior Colton Sargent helped the Chargers get their third quarter run started with an early three-pointer. Freshman Quynton Younker added another three-pointer late, and an inside shot by Littler had slimmed the Titans’ lead down to a mere nine points.
The fiesty Chargers defense forced another turnover, but couldn’t convert on the breakaway shot.
Then came the timeout.
South Central Calhoun’s coaching staff could see the change of momentum. Although it was reactionary, the Titans knew they’d have to make a change if they wanted to hold onto their lead.
The time out would spell doom for the Chargers players.
South Central Calhoun emerged from the timeout with a renewed effort on defense. After a quick shot, the Titans let the Chargers bring the ball across halfcourt, and then swarmed on them. Overwhelmed by the new defensive pressure, the Chargers lost control of the ball on back-to-back possessions.
The third quarter ended with South Central Calhoun leading 44-35.
Throughout the fourth quarter, South Central Calhoun continued to add to their lead as the shots of AC/GC continued to shy away from the net. Players who had been on shooting streaks were left out in the cold throughout the fourth quarter. An early bucket by Wardyn stood as the only shot that AC/GC had for more than four minutes in the final quarter.
As the Titan lead grew, the hopes of extending the season dimmed for the Chargers. A pair of late threes by sophomores Noah Nelsen and Avery Wheatley helped the Chargers slow the bleeding, but the wound had already done its damage. The Titans held on to the 14-point victory to extend their season another day.
For the Chargers, they end the season with an overall record of 3-20.
“I can’t fault our boys for their effort, they responded to South Central’s runs every time,” Mohling said. “We got within single digits in the second half and made a nice run winning the third quarter, but when we were within striking distance we had a slew of turnovers. You just can’t do that when you’re trying to beat a better team. The final game of the year is always a tough one, only one team in the state gets to go out with a win, but our boys fought hard and I’m so proud of them.”