PLANO – It was looking like the same story on a different day for the Genoa-Kingston boys basketball team.
The Cogs were 0-2 in the Plano Christmas Classic and were in danger of dropping three in a row as they trailed Forreston by seven points entering the fourth quarter Saturday.
In an inspired fourth quarter defensive display, G-K allowed only four points and a lay-in by Tommy Hansen with 22.7 seconds left gave the Cogs a 43-42 win.
“We gave up four points in the fourth quarter. That was more like us defensively,” Cogs coach Corey Jenkins said. “We were more active on the defensive end today. The offensive execution is still not as solid.”
G-K (9-3) led by two at the half but were poor offensively in the third quarter.
The Cogs shot 3 of 13 from the field in the quarter and trailed by 7 points entering the fourth. In the fourth quarter, G-K came alive.
Tommy Lucca brought the Cogs within two at 40-38 as he scored seven consecutive points for the Cogs – all on free throws.
“I just felt that we weren’t getting many good offensive looks. I felt that I had to take more of a load offensively,” Lucca said. “Throughout the first half, I didn’t take many shots - I didn’t have to. But once I woke up and got things going, it was about the time the fourth quarter started.”
After Kaleb Reining pushed the Cardinals’ lead to 41-38 by making 1 of 2 free throws, the Cogs needed a big shot. Hansen had the ball in the left corner and found Lucca, who popped a 3-pointer from the left wing to tie the game.
“It was a good momentum-changer,” Lucca said. “It just happened to be a big three. I didn’t plan on taking a three or anything like that. It was just a good look. Just take the shot and it went in.”
Forreston regained the lead after Wyatt Kerchner made the front end of a one-and-one. G-K had the ball on the baseline with 26 seconds remaining. Jenkins drew up a play and Eli Thurlby, the inbounder, found Hansen on the left block for an easy layup.
“Coach drew up a play that made me set a back screen down off another screen and it ended up working,” Hansen said. “It was a good find by [Thurlby].”
Jenkins said that he was pleased with the Cogs’ execution down the stretch.
Kerchner’s last second 3-pointer hit the front of the rim as time expired and G-K survived. The Cogs defense was great in the fourth quarter as the Cardinals shot 1-of-4 from the field.
Lucca finished with 10 points, all in the fourth quarter. Griffin McNeal scored 6 points and pulled down seven rebounds and Hansen added 8 points. The Cogs will play Plano at 9 a.m. today for 13th place.
“We played very well defensively in the fourth quarter. Our offense wasn’t quite even with our defense,” Hansen said. “Our defense was solid.”