BROOKVILLE — Building a 14-point lead with 2:50 left in the game, the Johnsonburg Rams basketball team hung on for a 40-39 non-league win on the road at Brookville Monday night.
The Rams (12-6), who led from start to finish with just one tie at 10-10 early, shook off terrible first-half shooting and built their big lead with a 16-4 run that started after the Raiders got within 22-20 with 39 seconds left in the third quarter.
It ended with the Rams leading 38-24 after Austin Green’s 3-pointer with under three minutes left in regulation.
From there, the Raiders (12-5) made their run to the finish with Aaron Park scoring 10 of his game-high 19 points in the final stretch.
However, it was too little and too late for the Raiders who got a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Park after Isaac Schloder hit one of two free throws to put the Rams up four with 3.7 seconds left.
“Any time we can come down and play and quality team and win … I thought we shot very poorly in the first half and we had some good looks,” Rams head coach Bill Shuey said. “We could’ve had a big lead, but thankfully in the third quarter we built the lead. Five turnovers with two minutes left in the game and that was uncalled for.
“How big was that foul shot at the end?”
Green wound up leading the Rams with 11 points off the bench. The Rams were 6-for-26 from the field in the first half and led 6-2 after the first quarter and 12-10 at halftime.
Even just trailing by two at the half, the start is what doomed the Raiders who had more turnovers (10) than shots from the field (9) in the first half.
“It was the beginning of the game,” said Raiders head coach Dalton Park of the key to the game. “We came out flat, we weren’t moving. We had passers and not kids who wanted to be scorers and shoot, drive or attack. We wanted to throw it to the next guy and do it … Nobody wanted to step up until midway through the third or maybe the fourth when people started attacking. Nobody wanted to be the shooter. The intensity was low and we were flat-footed at the start.”
Park, who was 7-of-9 from the floor and scored 14 points of the Raiders’ 19 points in the fourth, wound up with a double-double with 13 rebounds.
With the game against the Rams a makeup, the Raiders have to bounce back tonight and play at Elk County Catholic in a District 9 League game. Also tonight, Johnsonburg hosts Sheffield in an AML-North matchup.