THE BLADE/LORI KING Enlarge | Buy This Photo
A fast start paved the way for St. John's Jesuit in the second game of last night's City League boys doubleheader at Savage Hall.
The Titans opened the game by outscoring Scott 23-6 and - although they hit a lull and briefly allowed the Bulldogs to make a game of it - that start paid off in a 67-51 victory.
Junior guard Michael Taylor scored 13 points to lead a balanced attack for St. John's (8-4, 6-1), which also got nine points from freshman guard Cheatham Norrils and eight each from Aaron Koonce, Jay Springs and Andrew Schaetzke.
Titans coach Ed Heintschel said: "We got the ball inside a little bit more [in second half] and attacked them a little better around the basket, and that was real important.
"The big guys hadn't played as well as they could, so we challenged them to have a better half."
The Bulldogs (5-6, 4-4) - who jeopardized their chances of making the CL playoffs with the loss, and fell for the third straight game overall - were paced by 16 points from guard David Sweeney and 11 from forward Owen Dotson.
Scott was within 10-6 after Sweeney drove the lane for a basket with 3:48 left in the first quarter.
But St. John's answered with a 13-0 run over the next 5:24, capping this pivotal stretch on Springs' steal and dunk for the 23-6 lead 1:36 into the second quarter.
"I don't really know what happened in that first quarter," Scott coach Joe Suboticki said. "We were trying some new things, and I don't know if the kids just didn't buy into it in the couple days of practice we worked on it. "But we got off to a very poor start. After that we played pretty good."
Just when the Bulldogs appeared ready to be blown out early, they answered with an 11-0 surge of their own, with Sweeney scoring six of the points and Dotson five. Sweeney's transition layup trimmed the deficit to 23-17 with 3:27 left in the half.
Although Heintschel was pleased with the fast start, he thought it had a negative side effect.
"That start hurt us a little because I think we got complacent and took the foot off the pedal," Heintschel said. "We're still doing that at this time of the season, and that's disappointing.
"You would expect Scott to come back and get some points and shots and do some things, but we really let them back in the game significantly, and that's not a good thing."
Ahead 31-23 at the break, the Titans bought some breathing room by starting the third quarter with a 10-4 spurt, which was capped by Taylor's 3-pointer from above the key for a 41-27 margin with 4:11 left in the period.
Scott got no closer than 12 points thereafter, and fell behind 53-34 entering the final quarter.
"We had four or five good spurts, so we showed some good things," Suboticki said. "But we don't consistently do it all the time. Our defense is still poor. That's why we're losing games."
St. John's enjoyed its biggest lead at 65-42 following Norrils' acrobatic layup with 3:58 remaining.
"Our guards lost the ball a couple times and gave them some easy ones," Suboticki said, "and we gave them some wide-open 3s that they made. That busted it open for them."