by Beau Wicker
Every time it needed to, Logansport had the answer against Lafayette Jeff Friday night.
The Berries jumped out to double-digit leads at the start of both halves and withstood the Bronchos’ rallies before pulling away late for a 63-55 win Friday night at the Berry Bowl.
The Berries improved to 7-1 and dropped the Bronchos to 2-6. It was Logan's first win over Jeff since the sectional win two years ago, which snapped a five-year drought against the Bronchos at the time.
A big difference in the game Friday was at the foul line, where the Berries shot 18 of 25 and the Bronchos made just 5 of 15.
The Berries jumped out to a 30-16 lead late in the second quarter before the Bronchos closed the half with a run to get to within 32-26 at halftime. The Berries started the second half strong, building a 44-30 lead late in the third quarter. But the Bronchos again made a run and got to within one point midway through the fourth.
Logan coach Pat Skaggs thought his team got too impatient against Jeff’s pressure after building the double-digit leads. The Berries committed 14 turnovers for the game.
“I don’t think we showed patience or didn’t have the ball movement or the screening or the hard cuts that we had in the first quarter,” he said. “Not taking anything away from Jeff, we knew they were going to battle and they have a solid team. Their record is very deceiving. They’re quick and coach [Scott] Radeker does a great job. We knew we were going to have our hands full and fortunately for us we did hit some free throws late.”
The Berries led 44-34 after three quarters before turnovers allowed the Bronchos to open the frame with an 11-2 run. Darian Collins’ 3-pointer from the left wing pulled Jeff to within 46-45 with 4:35 left in the game.
But the bigger Berries got the ball back inside and freshman Jalen Adaway converted a three-point play to push the lead back up to 4.
Collins missed two in a row from the identical spot he had just hit but a Dan Ricksey basket cut the lead to 51-47 with 3:00 remaining.
Carter Skaggs drew a foul and hit both foul shots to push Logan’s lead back up to 6. The Bronchos then had a possession where they had four shots at the basket but none of them fell, and Logan’s A.J. Smith was fouled on a rebound attempt and hit 1 of 2 free throws to push the lead to 54-47.
Devin Haney scored to pull the Bronchos back within 5, but an Adaway dunk, his third of the game, off a press-breaker pushed the lead back to 7. Haney quickly answered with a 3-pointer to make it 56-52 with 43 seconds left.
Matt Jennings hit 1 of 2 free throws to again make it a 5-point game. Adaway then blocked a shot by David Hanyard, and Haney’s putback rolled off the rim with 23 seconds left. The Berries hit six straight free throws from there to push the lead back to 11 before Haney hit a 3 at the buzzer for the final margin.
Carter Skaggs led the Berries with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-5 junior entered averaging over 3.5 made 3-pointers per game and shooting 48 percent from beyond the arc but was held to 0 of 2 from there for the game. But he did damage in the post, shooting 6 of 11 from 2 and making all six of his free throws.
He thought his team could have played better with the lead.
“It got a little sloppy at times. We could have played better at times,” he said. “But we finished off well, hit our free throws there at the end.”
Adaway added 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and three blocks. Wamsley had 10 points and 11 boards, and Jennings added nine points. Travis Palmer chipped in five points.
Haney led the Bronchos with 20 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Hanyard scored 16 points. Collins and Quarin Hood each added seven.
“Two good teams playing. Throw the record out, I think our team is going to be there at the end,” Radeker said. “We’ll be all right. But they’ve got a nice team, they played a great game tonight.”
Radeker added if his squad would have done the little things better it might not have had such a steep hill to climb in both halves.
“I thought we made a nice run at the end of the first half,” he said. “We came out and got the ball where we wanted in the second half and got to the free throw line. Free throw shooting was big for us tonight ... and a lot of bunnies around the rim that we missed were big for us too.
“I’m proud of our kids’ effort to stay around.”
Logan led 19-14 after one quarter. Adaway had two dunks in the first three minutes and at one point had three straight assists — two to Jennings and one to Skaggs — in the quarter. Skaggs had a steal and assist to Palmer to give Logan an 18-12 lead.
The Berries opened the second quarter with an 11-2 run. Skaggs scored two straight baskets, Hunter DeHaven scored in the post and Palmer scored on an and-one from Jennings. Adaway then came up with a block and threw a behind-the-back pass to Jennings for a score to give the Berries a 30-16 lead with 2:50 left in the half.
The Berries opened the second half with a 9-0 run. Jennings hit a 3 to give them a 41-26 lead with 5:45 left in the third. Wyatt Kelley scored in transition and Skaggs added a free throw to make it 44-30 with 1:13 left in the third.
The Bronchos went on a 15-2 burst to get to within one before the Berries closed the game with a 17-10 run over the final 4:06.
The Berries travel to Twin Lakes (3-4) tonight.
“Big game at Twin Lakes tomorrow. They’ve got a lot of seniors that have played for three or four years, and coach [Kent] Adams does a great job so we know we’ll have our hands full,” Pat Skaggs said.