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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette North Side's Lucas Kroft puts up a shot over Bishop Dwenger's John Henry Reith during the third quarter Friday at Bishop Dwenger. Kroft finished with 14 points.

Saturday, February 10, 2018 1:00 am

North Side 68, Bishop Dwenger 57

Legends turn up defense to pull away from Saints

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

The North Side boys basketball team is working on righting the ship after a last-second loss earlier this week.

After a shaky start, the Legends found their game Friday in a 68-57 win at Bishop Dwenger.

“The biggest focus tonight was trying to get our groove back,” North Side's Keion Brooks Jr. said. “I feel like we played well the last couple games then we dropped one to Carroll, so we're getting our groove back to play the way North Side plays.

“I feel like we're on our way. We have to get the next one next Friday and keep going in practices and go into the postseason and try to build on it, as well.”

Brooks scored 22 points, Austin Boucher had 18 of his 20 points in the first half and Lucas Kroft finished with 14, so the offense isn't an issue for North Side.

It's the other side, the defense, that has been the focus since Tuesday's 64-61 buzzer-beating loss to Carroll.

“We really focused on defense, 90 percent of our practice was defense this week,” Boucher said. “It paid off, but we still allowed 19 points in the first quarter. So stepping up in the second quarter on the offensive end and defensive end, we were able to push the score up.”

The Saints led 19-14 after the first quarter, but North Side opened the second quarter on a 21-0 run to lead 35-19 with 2:25 left.

Boucher scored four 3-pointers in the run, and the Legends didn't allow a point until about two minutes left in the half.

“It was definitely the defense,” North Side coach Shabaz Khaliq said. “When you defend and give up seven points in the quarter and two of their buckets came from offensive rebounds, the first-shot defense was good that quarter, and we were able to get out in transition and get some open looks. Guys see shots fall, that makes a huge difference.

“Austin hit some tough shots tonight. ... But we can't rely on those shots to go in on a consistent basis. So if they're not going in, are we going to be willing to defend and get stops, so that we're able to persevere when we're not making shots? That's what we're focused on.”

Bishop Dwenger used a 10-2 to get back to 45-49 with 1:31 left in the third and 52-49 a minute into the fourth.

It's that kind of lapse on that the Legends are looking to correct.

“At times, we played great defense and other times we slacked on defense,” Brooks said. “I think if we can maintain the defensive intensity the whole game, we can really impact some games.

“Just attention to detail and our effort. Our effort wanes from time to time. When we're down and we feel like we have to get back in the game, that's when we need to dig in defensively and start the game with that intensity.”

Lucas Lehrman led the Saints with 18 points, and Hayden Smithey added 16.