Scotus Central Catholic boys basketball gave up the lead in the third quarter, went ice cold in the fourth and missed opportunities in the final minute to pick up a third straight win, instead losing to visiting Norfolk Catholic 46-42 on Tuesday night.
Scotus trailed by three points with under 30 seconds to go in the game, converted on a set play out of a timeout but missed the ensuing foul shot after making a shot and drawing a call.
Forced to foul at that point, the Shamrocks regained possession after the Knights went 1-for-2 at the foul line and created a wide open layup but missed that as well. SCC then watched helplessly as Norfolk Catholic made both free throws at the other end pushing the lead to an insurmountable four points with less than two seconds remaining.
After winning the Columbus Holiday Tournament on Dec. 29, the loss dropped Scotus to 5-5 overall while Norfolk Catholic broke a three-game skid and improved to 5-7.
Tyler Palmer led Scotus with 15 points while Eric Mustard had 10.
"It's a tough pill to swallow. A lot of things happened tonight to even put us in that position to have to come back there. You just feel terrible. You watch the Bears game this weekend and it kind of feels the same way. It's just a chip shot field goal and the guy misses it. It was kind of the same thing for us there at the end," coach Tyler Swanson said.
"We get a wide open drive and just miss it, but there were a lot of things in that game that cost us."
Scotus trailed 13-12 after the first eight minutes then ended the first half on a 9-0 run taking a 25-18 lead into the break.
Palmer started the run on a make and foul, hitting the free throw followed by two more points at the line, a putback by Mustard then a Palmer driving layup off a Norfolk Catholic turnover.
The Knights answered right away out of the break with their own 9-0 run and held the lead the rest of the way.
That poor start convinced Swanson his group needed an infusion of energy. Disappointed with the way the starters came out, he pulled all five and went with the backups.
"I didn't like the way four of our first five were getting after it," Swanson said. "On the defensive end, we weren't very active, and we were being careless with the basketball."
"I could see it in their eyes, when they turned it over it didn't matter. When they cut hard it didn't matter. They were jogging through. The effort just wasn't there.'
Scotus forced four Norfolk Catholic turnovers in the fourth quarter and only allowed one made shot but went 3 for 12 from the floor.
Still, with under a minute to go and down four, a Caden Pelan 3 drew the Shamrocks to within 41-40. The Knights answered with two makes from the free throw line.
Scotus called a timeout and drew up a play that worked perfectly were it not for the missed free throw on the and-one opportunity.
Later, in the locker room, much of the conversation had to do with the third quarter and the dramatic changes to the lineup.
"I told the starters afterward, 'This is all your guys' doing. You're going to get your chance again, but you're going to sit here, and when you figure out you want to play then you're going to get back out there and do it,'" Swanson said. "It took a little bit of time in the fourth quarter, but the effort was better.
"In the game of basketball, it's really simple. If you're not producing, other guys are going to get an opportunity. Even though you do things well in practice, when the lights turn on, if you can't make shots or you can't defend or you can't pull rebounds, and other guys on the bench can come in and do that for you, even if it's not at as high of a level, I'm going to go with those guys."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org