GRANITE CITY — Round 2 between the Civic Memorial Eagles and Granite City Warriors went quite the same way as Round 1 — down to the wire.
This time went in favor of the Warriors though, winning 55-52. The Eagles went to Granite City and defeated Warriors 49-48 on Nov. 29.
CM had won six out of its last seven games, including its last two entering Tuesday. The loss dropped the Eagles to 9-6. The Warriors improved to 6-9 with the win, snapping a three-game losing skid.
Even though it ended in a loss, CM head coach Doug Carey wasn't totally disappointed. He praised the effort of his squad.
“I'm not displeased with the way we played at all,” Carey said. “I thought we played pretty well actually, I just thought Granite City made a bunch of shots that probably they don't make. They shot it well from 3 and we don't really have the quickness to go out there and guard them man. We just had to live with them shooting 3s and they made them tonight. You've got to give credit to them.”
The Warriors knocked down eight treys altogether, including five from D.J. Miller, who led GCHS with 20 points. Granite City head coach Steve Roustio was stoked to see Miller step up.
“It's nice to see Miller knock down some shots like that,” Roustio said. “Especially when they started the game and were really focusing on stopping (Kenny) Berry, which is a respectful thing to do. I think Miller being able to knock down some shots caused some problems. It sure opened up some stuff for us.”
But it was CM's 6-foot-8 senior Jakob Lowrance that really stole the show, dropping a game-high 30 points. Lowrance caused matchup problems for the Warriors inside and outside on Tuesday.
“Jakob played great and we played well getting the ball inside to him,” Carey said. “We got the ball inside to him on rhythm, on time and he turned around and scored.
“When you play man against us and you're not going to double down on him, he can score. We're doing a lot better job of moving the ball and finding him on time. Early in the season our young guards had problems, but they're starting to learn and figure it out.”
Roustio admitted with Lowrance's complete game offensively coupled with his size, it causes a big matchup issue.
“Not only is he a matchup problem from a physicality standpoint, we're well aware of what he can do,” Roustio said. “When they came here and beat us in the tournament, he had 28 that night. It's not only that he's good around the basket, he can step out and hit the 15-footer, then he can step out and hit the 3 and he can make free throws. He's an amazing player. I would think he would be a matchup problem for a lot of people.”
A bucket by Lowrance handed the Eagles a 2-0 lead to start the game. GCHS responded to leap in front 10-4 though, before a 2-point field goal from David Lane and 3-pointer from Lowrance got it back to 10-9 with 1:02 to go in the first quarter. Traron Allen put one in at the buzzer though, handing the Warriors a 12-9 advantage after one frame.
CM was finally able to grab a 24-23 lead on a trey by Lowrance with 1:34 to go in the half, but a free throw by Allen and 3-pointer by Miller gave the Warriors a 27-24 edge entering the break.
“(Miller) shot the ball real well,” Carey said. “He was one of the guys we wanted to stop and he hit three 3s late in the first half and that really hurt us. We kind of left him open a little bit and I don't think we got out there as quick as we should have, but he played really well for them.”
It continued to be a tight ball game in the second half. A Lowrance score with 4:15 to play in the third quarter gave CM a 38-37 lead and a 3-pointer from him tied the game at 41-41 with 1:38 left in the frame.
Again it was Miller, sinking a trey with 1:01 to go to give Granite City a 44-41 lead after three quarters.
The Eagles never led again, drawing even twice over the final eight minutes at 46-46 on a 3-pointer by Brandon Hampton and 48-48 on two free throws by Hampton.
A pair of free throws from Lowrance with 19 seconds left had CM within 53-52, but Berry, GCHS' leading scorer on the season, hit two clutch free throws to put it away with 16.3 seconds to go at 55-52.
“It was a learning experience for us,” Carey said. “They are the quickest team we'll play all year probably and they shot the ball well.”
GRANITE CITY 55, CIVIC MEMORIAL 52
CM 9 15 17 11 — 52
GCHS 12 15 17 11 — 55
CM (9-6) — Brett Lane 9, JaQuan Adams 6, Jakob Lowrance 30, Brandon Hampton 5, David Lane 2. 2FG — 13 3FG — 7 FT — 5 PF — 12
GCHS (6-9) — D.J. Miller 20, Traron Allen 13, Raekwon Jackson 8, Kenny Berry 8, Deontonio Jennings 2, Jake Roustio 4. 2FG — 12 3FG — 8 FT — 7 PF — 10