Blackhawk Christian head coach Marc Davidson said his team escaped in beating Canterbury because of his team's rebounding.
With 18 boards from juniors Joey Morlan and 11 from Wesley Davidson, the Braves needed every rebound they could get in the 68-65 win over the Cavaliers on Friday night.
“I think we escaped tonight with a win,” Davidson said following the game. I don't know how much we earned it, especially at the defensive end.”
Blackhawk Christian outrebounded Canterbury 48-37 on the night, including several offensive rebounds that went for putback baskets. Of the Braves (3-2) 48 rebounds, 15 were offensive.
In the close game, the offensive rebounds were deflating when Canterbury needed a defensive stop.
“When you give up putbacks it's kind of deflating,” Morlan said. “I think the number of putbacks that helped us start our runs and end theirs really helped us tonight.”
The first half went at a frantic pace in an up-and-down style rhythm. Blackhawk Christian and Canterbury (2-2) traded three-pointers in the first half, including a shootout between Morlan and Canterbury's senior Grant Sinn.
Freshman Jalen Paul hit a three-pointer of his own right before the first quarter buzzer, tying the game at 19-19.
Morlan finished with four triples and led all scorers with 20 points. All of Sinn's 15 points came from behind the arc.
Morlan credits playing AAU basketball to becoming a shooter. At 6-foot-5, he couldn't post up against taller forwards, thus he had to stretch the floor.
“You're not going to be able to post up like I'm accustom to doing,” Morlan said. “That's really what forced me to develop my shot. I've been struggling but it was good to see a couple go in.”
Six underclassman saw the floor for Canterbury, showing what head coach Scott Kreiger said was an inexperienced team in just its fourth game. Sinn and Paul led the Cavaliers with 15 points each. Junior Andrew Kus added 13 points while grabbing 17 rebounds.
Nearly closing an 8-point deficit in the final five minutes on the road made Krieger proud of his young team.
“There's just a lot of things that could have really blown us out of the gym,” Kreiger said. “Our guys just stepped up and competed.”
The Braves hit five foul shots in the final 32 seconds of the game, three coming from junior Riley Reimschisel. But a Sinn three-pointer cut the score to 67-65 with 4.5 seconds remaining.
Reimschisel hit one of his double bonus foul shots and Canterbury's desperation heave was off.
“We had some great looks that we just didn't hit,” Kreiger said. “But we got the looks, we were in it until the last possession.”