BETHALTO – Jakob Lowrance of the Civic Memorial Eagles discovered his deft shooting touch at the right time Friday night.
The 6-foot-8 senior hit three key baskets in the fourth quarter to navigate the Eagles past backyard rival Roxana, 33-31, in a nonconference boys’ basketball game. CM improved to 5-4. The Shells dropped to 6-4.
“I don’t care if I score two points or 35 points – just as long as we win,” said Lowrance, bound for Central Missouri State in Warrensburg.
He tallied a game-best 13 against Roxana in a game where points were hard to manufacture. And Lowrance netted all nine of CM’s nine points in the fourth quarter.
“They (Shells) were playing a box-and-one defense on him and if we can’t get the ball to Jakob, I’m going to let him shoot it from the outside,” CM coach Doug Carey said. “We don’t mind having him shoot 3-pointers.”
Roxana coach Mark Briggs said, “He hit a couple of big shots in the fourth quarter. I thought we did a great job on him all night. if you are 6-8 and launching 3-point shots, we’ll take it.”
Lowrance added, “Coach moved me to the outside and I decided to keep shooting. I’m comfortable stepping away from the basket and shooting the ball. I’d like to be a little bit closer to the basket, but we got the win and that’s all that matters.”
The Eagles had to work hard for it against the scrappy Shells. Curiously, CM had an 11-point spree in the game and a pair of eight-point bursts. The Eagles led 21-13 at half.
Roxana countered with an eight-point binge after the Eagles shot in front 8-0 to start the game.
“Our kids were fighting even when CM went on those runs,” Briggs said. “They kept weathering the storm and were right in it at the end of the game.
“I’m pleased with where we are.”
Trace Gentry scored nine points and Chance Foss contributed eight more for the Shells, who connected on six 3-pointers. They made 12 of 32 shots overall. CM was 13-for-30, including three treys.
The low-scoring affair featured the Shells holding the ball for much of the third quarter. They trailed 24-21 at the time. CM remained in its zone as Roxana tried to force the Eagles to play man-to-man.
“We wanted to try and play a certain way and they wanted to play a certain way,” Briggs said of the war of nerves. “It was part of our strategy and it didn’t hurt us. We still had an opportunity to win it.”
Carey noted, “I’ve been in a lot of games where a team has held the ball. Maybe we would have done the same thing in their situation. But tonight, there was no use in guarding them there. We were winning.”
CM owned a 31-27 lead in the final minute of the game. Foss scored with 17.2 seconds remaining to make it 31-29. Lowrance was called with an offensive foul on an inbounds play, but Roxana couldn’t take advantage of it. The Shells couldn’t get the ball in bounds within five seconds and CM got it back.
Lowrance sank two free throws with seven seconds to play before Roxana’s Randy Skiff hit a basket just before the final buzzer. Adam Hill and Zack Lehnen of CM each scored six points to complement Lowrance.
“We’ve had a lot of close games and it was good to win this one,” Lowrance said.
Carey pointed out, “Roxana played really hard and they played harder than we did. But we had enough to win.”
Next up for the Eagles is the Freeburg Tournament, where CM is seeded fourth. Dupo and host Freeburg are also in the Eagles’ group. Roxana is at Pinckneyville and cast in pool play with Olney and Carterville.
CM 33, ROXANA 31
Roxana 8 5 8 10 – 31
CM 10 11 3 9 – 33
Roxana (6-4) – Vandiver 3, Gentry 9, Hawkins 4, Golenor 2, Skiff 5, Foss 8. 2FG-6 3FG-6 FT-1 PF-10
CM (5-4) – Lowrance 13, Hill 6, Lane 2, Buhs 4, Lehnen 6, Ricci 2. 2FG-10 3FG-3 FT-4 PF-7