By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune
---- — The Logansport Berries faced a stern test and got a passing grade from their coach in the second game of the season.
The Berries hosted a veteran Maconaquah squad on Saturday night. The Braves pushed the Berries but weren’t quite able to keep up over the full 32 minutes, as Logansport pulled away for a hard-fought 79-62 win.
Three nights after beating Peru by 43 points, the Berries again won by double digits but coach Pat Skaggs was looking for a better performance overall.
“I think we just thought we were going to take off from the last game, and obviously that wasn’t the case,” he said. “They had a defensive plan there on Carter [Skaggs] and we’ve got some guys who are going to have to learn that they are going to be open, but that doesn’t mean that’s a good shot for them or a good shot for us. I don’t think we really played very smart the majority of the game to be honest with you. We’re going to have to learn to play at different tempos throughout the game. It’s like right now we’re on full throttle and we’re going to have to learn to slow it down a little bit.”
Despite facing extra attention, Carter Skaggs scored a career-high 36 points to lead the Berries (2-0). He canned four 3-pointers and was 12 of 14 from the foul line for the game. The junior is averaging 32.5 ppg in his first two games for the Red & Black.
“I thought they just got really physical with him and face-guarded him,” Pat Skaggs said. “The guards did a great job of getting him the ball.”
A.J. Smith followed his 20-point game against Peru with 11 against the Braves (0-1). The Berries also had a couple of their young guns in double figures as Matt Jennings scored 14 and Jalen Adaway had 10.
The Braves led 14-13 after one quarter of play before Jennings and Adaway got going to put the Berries ahead.
Jennings had 10 in the half and Adaway added eight as the Berries led 36-28 at halftime.
In the second half things got hectic as the teams combined for three technical foul calls and an intentional foul call — all the infractions were called on players.
But Carter Skaggs scored 25 of his 36 in the second half to carry the Berries to the win. Logan quickly built a 15-point lead following a technical foul on Mac that resulted in a six-point possession with 5:25 left in the third. Skaggs converted four free throws during the sequence and Jennings scored on an assist by Andrew Wamsley.
The Braves utilized a four-point play following a tech on the Berries and trailed 62-52 after three.
Wamsley and Skaggs opened the fourth quarter with baskets to put Logan up by 14. Skaggs ended the game scoring 15 straight for the Berries.
One was on a free throw following an intentional foul by the Braves with 2:14 remaining. A tech was called on a Logan player following the intentional foul. The outcome had already been determined at that point as the Berries led 76-60 after the free throws were shot.
Kyle Dinn scored all 21 of his points in the second half to lead the Braves. Wyatt Hughes, a 6-6 freshman, added 16 points in the contest.
The Braves had a tough break when Adam Harts took an inadvertent elbow from Jennings on a Jennings drive with 4:02 left in the third quarter. Harts suffered a gash above his eye that required stitches and did not return. He scored 13 points in the game.
“He’s a tough kid and I know he was very upset that happened because he wanted to stay in the game,” Maconaquah coach Andy Steele said. “On Monday we’ll see where he is, if he’s out. But he’s going to come back even stronger and more aggressive.”
Pat Skaggs was impressed with the Braves.
“I was very impressed with what they did. They have some kids that can really shoot the 3, and of course the [K.J.] Walton kid is a heck of an athlete. Dinn had an outstanding game.
“I was very impressed with their team. The big freshman kid showed some promise. Coach Steele brought his team in here to be physical and it was a good test for us.”
Steele is looking forward to having a successful season with his squad.
“We have a solid group of guys that any one of them can go for 20 points a night. It’s a great team atmosphere this year. I absolutely love what we’re doing offensively and defensively,” he said. “I told them I’ll take this loss if that means we’re going to win the Miami County Tournament, we’re going to compete in conference and we’re going to win the sectional.”
The Berries face Lewis Cass on Tuesday in the second game of a girls-boys doubleheader at the county tournament in the Berry Bowl. The Braves host North Miami next Friday.
Beau Wicker is the sports editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.