ST. ELMO – Brownstown held on despite South Central nearly erasing an eight-point deficit in the final minute of a 37-35 win on Tuesday at the St. Elmo Holiday Tournament.
The Cougars (1-6) made eight free throws in the final 1:08 of the game, but were unable to get a shot off after earning possession with about four seconds left.
"I told them at halftime that if they got within four in the third quarter, we would win the game," said coach Rick Simmons. "We didn't quite get there, but if you don't give up or quit, you have a chance."
Simmons' prediction was spot on, as South Central got within eight points during the third quarter and came up two short in the end.
Brownstown coach Vince Rohr said the game actually started to turn halfway through the fourth quarter, though.
"It started with about four minutes left when we tried to manage the ball," Rohr said. "Coach Simmons knows when to pressure the ball and trap, then a little bit of a panic mode set in."
The Cougars had three steals in the final four minutes that resulted in four points.
The first half, however, wasn't as close of an affair.
Brownstown (4-5) had an 11-0 run that spanned the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter to take a 10-point lead, and the Bombers would lead by 14 at halftime.
"I knew it'd be a drag-it-out, slow game," Rohr said. "I wanted to make sure we had every opportunity to get to the basket."
Simmons said his team had a little bit of tough luck during the first half on offense, but should have played better on defense.
"You'll see that we had some good shots that we didn't finish, and we gave up too many opportunities under the basket," Simmons said.
Brownstown will meet St. Elmo on Thursday at 7:45 p.m., and South Central will face Ramsey at 6:15 p.m.
South Central 35
Points: Tharp, SCHS, 14; Gurtner, BHS, 12; A. Hunter, BHS, 12; Bushue, SCHS, 9; Hablewitz, SCHS, 9.
Rebounds: C. Hunter, BHS, 11; Tharp, 9; Wilkins, SCHS, 7; A. Hunter, 6; Gurtner, 5.