Jan. 26—J.R. Holmes didn't become the all-time leader in coaching victories in Indiana high school basketball by not having teams that played defense and/or knew how to protect a lead.
Both those qualities were on display Friday night in Bloomington South's 58-46 victory over Terre Haute South in Conference Indiana action.
The visiting Braves, despite being down a man after an injury suffered by shooting guard Peyton Turner against Terre Haute North, shot well and defended pretty well but couldn't avoid a fifth straight loss and will be on the bus early Saturday morning for another tough test at Evansville Bosse.
"The effort was definitely there," coach Maynard Lewis of the Braves said afterward. "But we're making some critical mistakes. Our decision-making has got to be a little better."
Six times the Braves fought back from behind to tie the game, but their only lead was at 2-0 90 seconds into the game.
And in the fourth quarter the host Panthers put the hammer down, forcing the Braves to guard them and scoring their last 11 points at the foul line as three Braves fouled out.
Bloomington scored eight straight points after Treva Branch's game-opening basket, but the Braves worked their way back into a 12-12 tie before sophomore reserve Jack Clark scored for the home team with a second left in the first quarter.
Reserves Brady Wilson and Nathan Boyce had baskets for the Braves early in the second quarter.
Each assisted the other — for a 16-16 tie, but the Panthers immediately scored nine points in a row.
Terre Haute South was back within 27-23 by intermission and got what amounted to a four-point play — a basket by Chris Herrin, a missed free throw rebounded by Josh Morgan and a basket by Zay Baker — and were even again. Other ties came that quarter at 29, 32 and 34, but then the Panthers closed the third quarter with a 9-2 run and got the first basket of the fourth period to make it 45-36.
Now the hill was pretty steep. South's 53% shooting from the field came with a lot of work involved, and the Braves were working on the defensive end too against the deliberate hosts. The Panthers took the first double-figure lead of the game at 51-40, and after a 3-pointer by Baker the Panthers hit 7 of 8 free throws to ice the game. During that stretch, Baker, Jaylen Wells and Boyce all picked up their fifth fouls.
Baker led the visitors with 13 points, while Branch added 10 and Morgan had nine points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Vincent Moutardier had 20 points, Alex Shaevitz 18 and Clark 12 for Bloomington South.
"We have another game tomorrow, so we can't hang our heads," Lewis said. "The guys played hard, we just had letdowns at critical moments."