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CANNELTON - Cannelton gained the lead late in the fourth quarter to beat Rock Creek Academy 65-56 in boys basketball Friday.
Rock Creek led during the beginning of the second half, but several turnovers, mostly travels, by the Lions allowed Cannelton to catch up quickly.
Cody Lawalin hit two consecutive three-point shots, the second with 2:55 left in the fourth quarter, to swing momentum in Cannelton’s favor.
“I think that was the turning point,” said Cannelton Coach Brian Garrett. “The kids started to play with a little more confidence.”
Tensions on the court began to mount with the score tied 56-56 with 2:25 left in the game. A heated conversation between Tyler Aud and two Rock Creek players after a foul brought Garrett onto the court to settle his player down.
But Garrett believed his players’ ability to keep level-headed played a key part in their win.
“I thought our kids did a nice job of maintaining their composure,” he said. “When I stepped out on the floor and grabbed Tyler to make sure he understood what we wanted him to do, he responded well. It didn’t phase him and he stepped up and made the free throws.”
Rock Creek led most of the first three quarters.
Cannelton pulled ahead briefly in the second quarter, but two points from Lions center Dontale Mayes tied the game 12-12. He would lead 8-8 Rock Creek with 12 points.
“We knew we were going to have problems with him,” said Garrett. “He’s a big kid and he jumps extremely well, but the kids handles themselves very well.”
The Bulldogs’ aggressive play also helped them to chip away Rock Creek’s lead. Garrett said the fact that his team attacked Rock Creek’s defense allowed his players to make more shots.
“We knew coming in they were going to play us aggressively man-to-man. At the end, they had to play zone because we matched their aggressiveness.”
Justin Dooley led Cannelton with 22 points and Aud added 18.
Aud led the Bulldogs in rebounds with 10 and T.J. James grabbed eight.
Dillon Powers had a team-high three assists.
Rock Creek won the junior varsity game 52-50. Jordan Mattingly led Cannelton with 15 points.
Cannelton, 6-10 in varsity and 3-7 in JV, will host New Harmony for a varsity game only Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. preceded by Cannelton’s homecoming ceremonies at 5:30 p.m.