Hereford senior Mark Suchy scored a game-high 29 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter to rally the Bulls (12-6) past upset-minded host Western Tech (3-14).
Suchy was clutch in the third quarter when he helped the Bulls during an 11-0 run that cut the Wolverines’ 47-35 lead to one, 47-46, at the break.
He was ultra-clutch in the fourth quarter when he helped the Bulls come back from a 62-55 deficit with 4:15 left in the game.
Western Tech had built the lead on the strength of 14 made 3-pointers, with Walter Carr (team-high 23 points) canning five of them.
Earlier in the season, Carr made 7 of 7 three-pointers and scored a Western Tech school-record 34 points.
But, after Tyler Cook (11 points) sunk the Wolverines’ final 3-pointer of the night, with 4:15 left, the Wolverines never scored again and the Bulls ended the game on a 10-0 run.
Suchy had eight of the final 10 points and he assisted Jack Callis for the other two points.
“I was just trying to do what I had to do to make the team win,” Suchy said. “It’s tough coming in here, yea we know their record is not great, but they know we are 12-6, they know we beat Milford, they know we played Dulaney tough, so they are going to give us their best effort.”
Suchy hit a pair of short jumpers in the lane 27 seconds apart and the second one gave the Bulls a 63-62 lead with 1:12 left.
He added a pair of free throws in the final 30 seconds to salt away the victory.
“Team-wise, tonight, we had a very good shooting effort which is needed because we are not that big,” Western Tech coach Mike Slepesky said. “We don’t have the luxury of number 25 (Suchy), their last four points were isolation plays and I give that kid a lot of credit because he had 29 points tonight and I’ve seen him four years in a row and I’m glad to see him go.”
Hereford coach Jim Rhoads praised the way Suchy, who scored his 1,000th career point earlier this season, battled through a zone that collapsed on him every time he touched the ball in the paint.
“They did a good job in their zone, they swarmed Mark with three guys,” Rhoads said. “It’s tough to make plays like that.”
The coach also appreciated the work of sophomore guards Nick Louis (9 points) and Tyler Herkalo (5 points)
“The key was we went small,” Rhoads said. “At the end of the third quarter, I took bigger guys out and brought in two other guards — Nick Louis and Tyler Herkalo — and they did a great job.”
Despite the loss, Slepesky like the way promoted JV players Alphonsus Koric (eight rebounds), Charles Neverdon (five points) and Donovan Leak contributed.
“Alphonsus was great on the boards,” said Slepesky, noting he had double digit rebounds in first varsity game. “I would love that from anybody.”
Leak started in the backcourt.
“He gave us added depth when they put the press on at one point, as well as just bring a calming presence bringing the ball up,” Slepesky said.
More help is on the way from a JV that nearly made the county championship game.
“We feel confident the future looks extremely good,” Slepesky said. “We want three games of experience for all the guys, including the young guys, come up now, get over your nervousness and your hiccups, because honestly, a 3-14 team is going to surprise some teams in the playoffs. With that type of play we are going to make somebody shake a little bit.”
Mark Suchy 29, Nick Louis 9, Mason Greenspan 7, Chuck Suchy 6, Tyler Herkalo 5, Will Reider 5, Jack Callis 4.
Western Tech 62
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Walter Carr 23, Tyler Cook 11, Joaqin Rice 10, Will Fitch 8, Charles Neverdon 5, Robert Johnson 3, Ife Kolade 2.