By MICHAEL BURWELL
ARCADIA — Ten seconds left, trailing by a point, possession of the ball, one last chance to win.
The way the first three quarters went for Arcadia’s boys basketball team on Tuesday, the Redskins were lucky to even be in that position.
But Mohawk’s swarming defense made sure a fourth-quarter Arcadia comeback wouldn’t happen, and the Warriors forced a turnover on the Redskins’ final possession and held on for a 60-59 nonconference victory.
Arcadia’s Hayden Ramsey drove to the basket, but lost control of the ball after he tripped, and the Warriors forced a turnover as the Redskins weren’t able to get a shot off.
“They made a good run at us,” Mohawk head coach Mike Mathey said. “We had some turnovers and missed some free throws down the stretch, but bottom line was we made a play at the end, we got a steal, and we found a way to win.”
Mohawk’s Logan Stillberger split a pair of free throws to put the Warriors ahead 50-37 early in the fourth quarter.
Arcadia then picked up its intensity, unleashing a 19-6 run over the next five minutes to tie the game at 56.
Ramsey’s bucket down low after his spin move in the paint got the rally started, and Shae Watkins scored four points over the next 30 seconds to cut the deficit to 50-43.
With 2:27 left in the game and the Redskins trailing 56-54, Ramsey made the first of two free throws after Mohawk’s Brayden Dunlap was called for an over-the-back foul, his fifth. Arcadia got the offensive rebound off the miss, and Ramzey went back to the line, split a pair of free throws and tied the game at 56.
The Warriors came right back with a 3-pointer from Hunter Fitschen, but Watkins scored to pull Arcadia within one, 59-58.
Despite shooting 1 of 5 from the free throw line for the remainder of the game, that one foul shot, by Fitschen with 41 seconds left, proved to be the difference as the Warriors forced two turnovers and two jump-ball situations, which give Arcadia limited scoring opportunities.
“Right now in my head, it comes down to turnovers and us shooting poorly from the (free throw) line,” Arcadia head coach Cara Noel said. “Hand it to Mohawk. They took advantage of our mistakes and we paid for it dearly with the loss.”
Arcadia was 14 of 32 from the free throw line, and Mohawk was 14 of 25.
Mitch Parker, a 5-foot-10 senior point guard, had a game-high 26 points for Mohawk (2-9), including eight in the second quarter when the Warriors outscored Arcadia 15-8 and took a 29-22 halftime lead.
“Mitch brings it 100 percent every night, and that’s what I expect of him,” Mathey said.
“I ask him to score on offense and he did. I wouldn’t ask him that if I didn’t think he could do it, but tonight he did a great job.”
Fitschen was the only other Warrior in double figures with 12 points, including a team-high three 3-pointers.
For the first three quarters, Mohawk’s defensive effort led to 15 Arcadia turnovers, including nine in the second quarter. Noel said she “pretty much got sick and tired of the way we were playing defense” throughout the first three quarters in which Mohawk had a 49-37 lead.
“We were only down seven (at halftime) and we had probably one of the worst halves that I’ve seen all season,” Noel said. “We were within striking distance, and we were lucky.”
Josh Ireland led the Redskins (3-7) with 14 points, including eight in the third quarter. He sat out for nearly the entire second quarter because of foul trouble.
Ramsey had 13 points for Arcadia, and Watkins added 12, half of them coming in the fourth quarter.
Fitschen 4-1–12, Jeffrey 1-0–2, Parker 9-8–26, Stillberger 3-2–8, Johnson 1-1–3, Dunlap 3-0–7, Gucker 0-2–2, Pummell 0-0–0, Eaton 0-0–0. TOTALS: 21 14-25–60.
Ramsey 4-4–13, Ireland 5-1–14, Watkins 5-2–12, Baker 3-1–8, Keffer 2-1–5, Conine 1-5–7. TOTALS: 20 14-32–59.
Mohawk 14 15 20 11 – 60
Arcadia 14 8 15 22 – 59
3-Point GOALS: Mohawk 4 (Fitschen 3, Dunlap 1); Arcadia 5 (Ireland 3, Ramsey & Baker).
turnovers: Mohawk 12, Arcadia 18.
junior varsity: Mohawk, 43-27.
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