The McComb boys basketball team saw its season end the same way the football team's did: with a loss to Delphos St. John's in the regional final.
The Panther basketball team suffered a 60-38 loss in the Division IV regional final last night at Savage Hall.
And while that loss wasn't as lopsided as the football team's 44-3 setback at the hands of the Blue Jays in the Division VI football playoffs, the sting of that defeat wasn't enough to carry McComb to the basketball upset.
“(Remembering the football game) got us fired up at the beginning,” said McComb's Derek Coker, who tied for team scoring honors with nine points.
“We knew after the football game we weren't ready to play that game. Today, they came (hard) all four quarters and we didn't.”
McComb scored seven of the final eight points of the first quarter to take a 13-11 lead. But DSJ scored the first six of the second period on the way to a 20-7 run that set the tempo for the rest of the game.
“We struggled all day with our shooting,” said McComb coach Aaron Roth, whose team shot just 27.7 percent from the floor.
“They had good defensive pressure and we had to work so hard for every shot. Once we started missing some shots, we started pressing a little more offensively.”
Delphos St. John's coach Brett Norris agreed that his team's defensive intensity was the key to the win.
“We can wear people down,” he said. “I think a lot of teams can play good defense for a quarter, but what separates us is, we're willing to do it for 32 minutes.”
McComb cut the Blue Jays' lead to 33-25 midway through the third quarter, but Delphos St. John's responded by scoring the final 11 points of that quarter and the first six of the final period to double up the Panthers 50-25, putting the game out of reach.
The Blue Jays (21-4) were led by Nate Klaus and Joe Kapcar with 16 points apiece. Klaus had 12 in the first half after making all three of his 3-point attempts, including several from well behind the arc.
“We wanted to mix in a little zone (defense), but when Klaus came out hitting those threes right away, that took away our zone,” Roth said. “And he wasn't toeing the line, that's for sure. After he hit one long (three), Rusty (Aldrich) looked over to me and asked, `What should I do?'”
But another key for DSJ was its depth; 10 different players scored at least two points.
“We knew they were athletic,” said Roth. “We had seen it on tape and we saw it in person last Tuesday. They do have a lot of athletes and they wore us down.”
Rusty Aldrich also scored nine points for McComb and Eric Tracy added seven for the Panthers, who finished the season at 19-7.
DePORRES 74, MONROE SMCC 67
NEW HAVEN, Mich. - The Falcons closed the gap with a 32-point fourth quarter, but they couldn't catch Detroit St. Martin DePorres (21-3) in their regional final.
Bill Schrader paced St. Mary (21-4) with 21 points.
BLISSFIELD 64, ALBION 60
PETERSBURG - Tony Freer scored 21 points and Eric Thompson added 14 as the Royals won a Class C regional championship at Summerfield.
Blissfield rallied from a 33-27 deficit at the half, outscoring Albion 21-3 at the free-throw line.
LENAWEE CHRISTIAN 57, NORTH ADAMS JEROME 45
HILLSDALE - Seth Borton tallied 23 points and Mike Folkert added 14 as Lenawee Christian captured a regional title at Hillsdale College.