Late surge carries Valley Christian over Warren JFK

story tease

Square scores 27

in battle of Eagles



Valley Christian basketball player Milan Square and coach Dolph Carroll both know what happened as the Eagles pulled away from Warren JFK in the fourth quarter of a 60-40 victory at Gillen Gymnasium on Tuesday night, though they arrive at different conclusions.

Square witnessed his teammates playing while a bit more locked into the action as they outscored Kennedy, 22-3, over the final eight minutes to blow open a 38-37 advantage through three periods.

“What was different in the fourth quarter was our focus, honestly,” Square said. “Those first three quarters we went out and didn’t have a great amount of focus. As soon as we focused and locked down, we played really good basketball.”

Carroll saw that nothing but the result had changed in the minute break between the third and fourth quarters, though his players (13-4) did not turn the ball over and forced seven miscues with their pressure.

“Unfortunately, we can’t do that in just the fourth quarter,” Carroll said. “We have to be a better basketball team than that. My kids fought in the fourth, but to be a better basketball team, we have do better in the first three quarters. Nothing was different. We just played and were doing what we were supposed to be doing. We started clicking. It wasn’t that we weren’t together for the first three quarters, we just weren’t getting the job done.”

Square finished with 27 points and eight rebounds to lead Valley Christian. Lohron Brown had 15 points, four assists and three steals and Melvin Neail chipped in with 10 points.

For Kennedy coach Mark Komlanc, those final eight minutes were nothing out of the ordinary, though he saw a bit of improvement and understood completely what happened to his Eagles (5-14).

“That’s the story of the season for us,” Komlanc said. “When we handle pressure, we’re pretty good. [Valley Christian] did nothing different in the fourth quarter than they did in the other three. We didn’t change our philosophy or our press breaker. I think we were just tired. We played three great quarters. That’s 24 minutes. On Sunday night, I had the kids run for 90 minutes straight. Last night, it was 45 minutes straight. I told the kids that loss was on me. I’m looking down the road. Tonight, there were a lot of positives. There are a lot of easy fixes. We showed a lot of improvement.”

Square and his teammates know they’re going to have to find that focus earlier in a game going forward.

“Coach just told us that we went out did that because our backs were against the wall,” Square said. “We have to go out and play like our backs are against that wall from beginning to end. If we do that, we’ll be a very good team.”

Kennedy was 11 of 25 from beyond the arc in the game as Josiah Hayes (17 points) had five 3-pointers and Gianni Eaton (12 points) had four more.