- By Mark Pinto Contributing Writer
Sycamore used a big fourth quarter Friday night to rally past host Middletown 49-46 in Greater Miami Conference prep boys basketball play.
The Aviators, who trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, used a 22-10 advantage in the final quarter to secure the win at Wade E. Miller Arena.
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Christian Kelly hit four free throws down the stretch for Sycamore.
The Aviators went 11-for-15 from the line in the second half.
Middletown had a chance to the tie the game with just under 10 seconds left, but Kelly stole the in-bounds pass coming out of a Middletown timeout. He finished with 16 points. Junior guard Ben Yuskewich added 16.
“In the second half we guarded as much as we could, knowing we needed stops to score, and offensively we kept it simple with penetrating, kicking out and attacking,” Sycamore coach Andrew Ovington said. “At the end of the day we shot 22 percent in the first half and 52 in the second half.”
The momentum started to change late in the third quarter when Middletown’s Broderick McGhee was charged with an intentional foul, and on the ensuing play, the Middletown bench was given a technical. Sycamore’s Davis NiBlack made both his free throws and Kelly made 1-of-2 to get Sycamore within nine points.
In the fourth quarter, Sycamore started to convert Middletown turnovers into points. The Aviators finished with 15 points off turnovers.
“I give Sycamore a lot of credit,” said Middletown coach Darnell Hoskins. “They made tough shots down the stretch, and we started to carelessly turn the ball over as we have done all season and tonight it bit us.”
In the first half the Middies were getting the ball inside to 6-foot-10 senior E.J. Williams. Williams scored eight points in the first half as the Middies built a 27-17 halftime advantage. Williams was held to a free throw in the second half.
“We did a good job pounding the ball early, but we were not as active in the second half as we were in the first half,” said Hoskins. “We just took our foot off the pedal.”
Jawunn Bailey led the Middies (4-13, 3-9 GMC) with 12 points and Blake Marshall scored 11 points off the bench.
“As of late the team is starting to buy into my philosophy and understanding the type of team it takes to be successful,” Hoskins said. “We are making great strides, and the issues tonight are fixable and games like this are great teaching moments. We will be ready for Tuesday night.”
Middletown is on the road at Fairfield on Tuesday, while Sycamore hosts Hamilton.