Westminster Christian came away with a win and both teams played well for the most part, but neither coach was completely satisfied after the Warriors downed Harvest Christian Academy, 61-49, in Northeastern Athletic Conference boys basketball action at Harvest Friday night.
For Harvest's Jeff Boldog, the chief complaint was a turnover-plagued stretch in the second quarter that allowed Westminster to take control. The Lions committed 13 first-half turnovers, which allowed the Warriors to go on a 20-5 run that began with the last basket of the first quarter and ended with Westminster ahead 29-13.
"It was the turnovers," said Boldog. "We had 13 turnovers in the first half and I told the guys that if we eliminate that stretch of turnovers, we're right there in a close game."
For Westminster coach Bruce Firchau, the issue was the way the Warriors finished the game. They committed 2 fouls while protecting a lead, picked up a technical, and missed several key free throws, all of which kept the Lions in the game.
"I'm very unhappy with our character the last 3 minutes of the game," he said. "I don't think we've had a player in several years get (a technical). I'm really unhappy, too, with the two fouls. We addressed that. I had just cleared my rebounders out and said, 'Don't get a foul. '"
The Lions were able to cut an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit to 10, 59-49, but didn't have enough time to complete a comeback.
Sam Carani led all scorers with 20 points for Westminster. Robert Kleczynski added 14 and Brad Barker had 12 off the bench.
John Vislisel scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Harvest, giving him 989 points for his career. Noah Fox added 13 for the Lions (7-8).
"I thought we did some good things defensively," Firchau said. "Our best offense was our defense.
Westminster led 9-8 late in the first quarter, then Conner Rejman hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer. The momentum carried over, with the Warriors scoring the first 8 points of the second period. Several turnovers fueled the run, including steals by Carani on back-to-back possessions.
Westminster led 33-17 at halftime, but Harvest came out after the break determined to get back in the game. Brett Cramer and Riley Steiner, neither of whom scored in the first half, nailed 3-pointers on Harvest's first two possessions to make it 33-23. From there on, every time Westminster seemed ready to blow the game open, the Lions had an answer.