ELDERSBURG — South Carroll coach Jim Carnes delivered a simple message to his team at halftime of Wednesday’s game with Mount Hebron in the Liberty Boys Basketball Holiday Tournament.
The Cavaliers missed their first 20 shots from the field, and didn’t make a basket until under three minutes remained in the first half. But they went into the break losing by 14, which wasn’t too bad considering their offensive woes.
“I said we couldn’t play any worse,” Carnes said. “But we were still within striking distance.”
South Carroll’s offense woke up in the second half. Cody Parks led the charge, scoring 16 of his game-high 22 points after the break, as the Cavaliers cut the lead to four in the fourth quarter but Mount Hebron hung on for a 55-46 victory in a Liberty Division game.
South Carroll (2-4) will play in the consolation game Thursday at 3 p.m.
The Cavaliers made just two baskets in that first half, the first coming on a Parks layup with 2:21 left. Joshua Kaye added another layup 12 seconds later, but if South Carroll hadn’t made 11 of its 12 free throws, the Vikings could’ve made it a rout.
Instead, Mount Hebron (3-4) held a 29-15 halftime lead. The Vikings also went cold during several stretches in the first half and turned ball over six times in the second quarter alone, which helped the Cavaliers.
But South Carroll just could not get the ball into the basket. The Cavaliers had shots that rolled in and out several times but they put that out of their minds in the second half.
“[You] don’t let it get to you,” said Parks, the lone Cavalier in double figures. “You just keep shooting.”
They did just that in the second half and slowly chipped away. Mount Hebron took a 45-30 lead into the fourth quarter, and the Vikings turned the ball over three times at the start. That, combined with nine points from Parks in just under 90 seconds, the last three coming on a long jumper, cut the lead to 46-42 with 5:26 left.
That’s when South Carroll went cold again. After Evan Ilchrist drilled a three on the next possession for the Vikings, the Cavaliers wound up missing three shots on one possession and five in a row.
South Carroll also turned the ball over three times, the last of which led to a fast-break lay-up for Brandon Prox (team-high 15 points). That finished a 7-0 run which put Mount Hebron up 53-42 with 1:47 remaining.
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“[We] didn’t panic,” Mount Hebron coach Michael Linsenmeyer said. “Their team showed a lot of heart in coming back.”
The Cavaliers played better defensively in the second half, with the pressure that Carnes put on at times helping get good shots. South Carroll just couldn’t make enough of them.
The Cavaliers made 13 baskets in the second half and finished the game going 12-for-14 from the free-throw line. However, they couldn’t recover from that 0-for-20 start.
“It was like it steamrolled,” Carnes said. “We couldn’t get anything to go in.”
Mount Hebron (55): Brandon Prox 15, Ryan Kinloch 8, Gerald Lawson 2, Terrell Coleman 2, Alex Nazaire 9, Kobi Crump 3, Evan Ilchrist 10, Justin Carguilo 6.
South Carroll (46): Cody Parks 22, Dylan Graham 5, Joshua Kaye 5, Matthew Gamble 4, Kollin Pavlik 4, Andrew Warehime 6.
Halftime: MH, 29-15.