By TED RADICK
PANDORA — Pandora-Gilboa’s Seth Schmenk sank a free throw in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter Friday.
At that point, Cory-Rawson coach Aaron Long admitted he was a little bit worried.
“It was scary, really scary,” Long said of Schmenk giving the Rockets a 27-20 lead. “They got it up to seven and, yes, it didn’t look particularly good for us.”
The Hornets outscored Pandora-Gilboa 15-2 from that point on, though, and posted a 35-29 victory in a Blanchard Valley Conference boys basketball game.
“Any BVC win is a good win,” Long said after Cory-Rawson evened its season record at 7-7 and BVC mark at 3-3. “It didn’t come easy, though. Pandora worked really hard and gave us some matchup problems.”
Schmenk posed the biggest problem for Cory-Rawson. The 6-foot-2 junior bullied his way into the paint for a game-high 20 points, and showed some nice poise and touch when he drained a half-court buzzer-beater to end the third quarter and put the Rockets (3-13, 1-5) ahead 26-20.
Cory-Rawson rallied by putting the game in the hands of its guards, Tyler Harris and Matthew Alspach.
Harris drilled a 3-pointer with 6:22 remaining that seem to jump-start the Hornets. Cory-Rawson’s intensity picked up noticeably on both ends of the floor; the Hornets forced five turnovers in the fourth quarter.
A 15-footer by C-R’s Jason Sands tied the game at 27-27, and Alspach put the Hornets in front 30-27 with a 3-pointer with 2:32 left.
“That was a big turning point,” Pandora-Gilboa coach Josh Klear said. “I could see that shot take a little air out of some of our younger, less experienced players.”
Alspach’s shot capped a 10-0 Cory-Rawson run in the fourth quarter. Schmenk, who also had a game-best 17 rebounds, stopped the bleeding with a 10-footer with just more than a minute to go, but those were the last points the Rockets scored.
Cory-Rawson outscored Pandora-Gilboa 15-3 in the fourth quarter to rally for the victory.
“We’re a very young team, and we haven’t become adjusted to pressure situations yet,” Klear said. “Our kids can get a little tight yet. Sometimes, our perimeter players can get caught standing around, waiting for Seth to make a play.
“But, this is one we can learn from as we continue to work and improve.”
Long, for his part, was pleased to see the Hornets overcome some obstacles. Junior Grant Risner scored nine points in the first half but picked up a fourth foul in the third quarter.
“We were able to survive without one of our main threats,” Long said. “ We got some key contributions off the bench tonight.”
Sands came off the bench with five points and four rebounds in the second half, and Risner returned to finish with team-highs of 12 points and six rebounds.
“We got a win tonight when we didn’t play our best,” Long said. “I think that says something about the character of this team.
“It’s been some time since Cory-Rawson has been at .500 this late in a season, and we have a chance the rest of the season to really build something, to get something going.”
cory-rawson (7-7, 3-3)
Harris 3-3—10, Sands 1-3—5, Alspach 1-2—5, Risner 5-2—12, Shepler 1-0—3. Welch 0-0—0, Reichley 0-0—0. TOTALS: 11-34 10-20—35.
pandora-gilboa (3-13, 1-5)
Schmenk 7-5—20, Schneck 1-0—3, Rieman 0-0—0, Fenstermaker 0-0—0, Tousley 0-0—0, Basinger 0-2—2, Maag 0-1—1, Hovest 1-0—3. TOTALS: 9-43 8-13—29.
Cory-Rawson 9 8 3 15 — 35
Pandora-Gilboa 9 9 8 3 — 29
3-Point GOALS: Cory-Rawson 3-13 (Harris, Alspach & Shepler 1); Pandora-Gilboa 3-12 (Schmenk, Schneck & Hovest 1).
rebounds: Pandora-Gilboa 32 (Schmenk 17); Cory-Rawson 25 (Risner 6).
turnovers: Pandora-Gilboa 15, Cory-Rawson 11.
junior varsity: Pandora-Gilboa, 24-22.