Tecumseh fans probably wondered what boys basketball coach Roger Culbertson was saying at halftime Friday night and how loud he was saying it.
After an early 12-point lead, the Arrows trailed underdog Tippecanoe by five at halftime.
But it wasn’t so much what the coach said that fired up the Arrows for the second half. The players got after each other, then got after the Red Devils and surged to a 75-60 victory.
“They were hungry to win the game,” Culbertson said. “They were upset about where we were after starting out the game so well. They were kind of getting on each other at halftime a little bit.
“I was pretty reserved at half this time.”
Culbertson talked about strategy, about attacking the Red Devils in the paint and about speeding up the game with full-court pressure. It was evident soon that the Arrows had listened to each other and to their coach.
The Arrows (11-6, 6-2 CBC Kenton Trail) worked out their sluggishness in the third quarter by making 12 of 16 free throws and by speeding up the game with their press. After trailing by eight twice in the first minute, the Arrows fought back to finally lead 43-42 with 2:52 left in the third. Darius Quisenberry’s 3-pointer from the corner pushed the Arrows’ lead to 53-46 entering the fourth quarter.
“We hit a stretch there in the third quarter where we made some very unfundamental plays, and they made us pay for it,” Tipp coach Mike Piatt said.
Tipp (2-15, 0-8) is inexperienced with no big men. Mostly the Red Devils play five 6-footers who can all dribble. But in the third quarter they got stationary against the press. The Arrows countered with steals, layups, two dunks for Donte Clark and free throws.
“We had a game plan coming in, and we go in the third quarter for a four-minute stretch and we kind of forgot that game plan,” Piatt said. “And it got away from us.”
The Arrows got another big night from the 6-5 Clark. He controlled the boards, blocked shots and scored 20 points. Freshman guard Darius Quisenberry scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half. Malik Quisenberry added 13 points.
The Arrows’ big three also were dominant at the foul line. Clark made eight of 11, Darius Quisenberry made all eight of his attempts and Malik Quisenberry made seven of 10. The Arrows made 27 of 34 free throws, while the Red Devils made four of seven.
Tecumseh also got a boost from senior Conner Henry with 12 points, 11 rebounds and lots of hustle plays.
This was the third game in the past week that the Arrows had to work hard in the second half to pull out a victory. Last Friday they trailed by 17 at Kenton Ridge before winning in overtime.
“We’ve been very inconsistent all year,” Culbertson said. “It seems like one game to the next it’s flipping a coin. I don’t have that answer.”
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