Closing things out in life is important.
Whether it be closing out a sale at your job or closing out a basketball game in the final quarter, finishing strong goes a long way.
The South Webster Jeeps did just that on Tuesday night in a 57-39 win over East.
During the game, the Tartans would take several leads but would find themselves trailing at the end of every quarter.
It wasn’t about the start for South Webster, but rather how they ended each quarter and ultimately the game.
“Honestly, it looked like we just outlasted them,” Jeeps head coach Brenton Cole said. “I just had a few more subs that I could run in and say hey, you’re guarding him now and you’ve got fresh legs.”
Playing without junior and leading scorer Shiloah Blevins who was out with an injury, South Webster knew they would need someone to step up and share the scoring load.
Sophomore Devyn Coriell (19 points) and sophomore Levi Murphy (15 points) did just that.
“Levi Murphy came off the bench tonight and he really stepped up well,” Cole said. “He hit a couple threes, took it the hole, and he did what we asked of him.”
“He takes charges, which always gets the crowd fired up, and our bench fired up. He’s a real good spark plug for us.”
The win didn’t come without a scrappy outing from the East Tartans, however.
Trailing 3-0 early, East got an old fashioned three-point play as their junior point guard Will Shope attacked the basket.
Shope had 10 points for the Tartans in the game.
After the Jeeps took the lead back with a Coriell score, East responded with baskets from senior Michael Bivens and junior Devon Stevens to give the Tartans a 7-5 lead with 4:32 to play in the first.
Bivens had a team-high 13 points, and Stevens scored six.
“I felt it was probably the best game to date for Michael,” East head coach Adam Bailey said. “He really gives us a different look when he plays that way, and I thought he did a good job tonight offensively at scoring the basketball, which is something we’ve wanted from him up to this point.”
“He gave that to us tonight, so hopefully we’ll be able to build off that.”
South Webster got five points from sophomore Brayden Bockway before the end of the quarter, as the 6-foot-5 center scored inside and followed up the make with a three.
Before the first came to a close, East got an answer from a Zach Garrett steal and score with 10 seconds left.
After one, the Jeeps led 13-11.
Though the offense appeared to be clicking early, South Webster players say they were locked in more defensively to start off the night.
“It started mostly on the defensive end,” Jeeps junior Samuel Holstein said. “Without a player like Shiloah, we always try to start on the defensive end and keep it a low scoring game, and we did that to the best of our abilities tonight.”
From there, defense helps to transition into offense as South Webster looks to find a consistent scorer.
“It’s very important to see if Devyn is hitting or if Levi is hitting like he was tonight,” Holstein said. “We just try to play through that player, and our offensive end has been running very well the past few games.”
In the second quarter, Murphy helped his Jeeps pull away early.
A three-pointer from the 6-foot-1 sophomore gave South Webster a 18-13 lead with 6:35 to play. Then, on the next possession, Murphy scored again to give the Jeeps a seven-point lead.
“We started off slow,” Murphy said. “It seemed like we weren’t really in it to begin with, but we came out and said we’re in more shape than these guys and we just started running. We had to get up and down the court as fast as we could.”
As they were all game long though, the Tartans were tough to put away. East got a boost from an 8-1 run to close out the final 4:46 of the half.
At the break, it was South Webster up by one, 24-23.
The Jeeps went in a scoring slump in the second, going for the final 5:45 without making a field goal.
“In the second quarter, we didn’t tend to share the ball,” Cole said. “We kind of tried to create on our own, one pass, one shot, and you get back on defense.”
On the other bench, Coach Bailey was liking what he saw from his Tartans, though they were still missing out on some opportunities offensively.
“In the first two and a half quarters, I thought we did a really good job taking advantage of some of the things we wanted to during the game,” Bailey said. “I really felt that we missed a handful of layups and uncontested two footers that if we find a way to make those, which has kind of plagued us the last two games, we probably would’ve had a little bit bigger lead.”
East took the lead early in the third when Stevens scored on a nice entry lob to the post from Garrett, but South Webster ended their drought with a triple from Coriell and then a second chance point from Holstein.
With 4:09 to play, the Jeeps were back on top 29-25. South Webster would not relent the lead the rest of the night, and led 36-30 through three.
“I thought late in the third quarter we had a couple turnovers and took a couple quick shots,” Bailey said. “South Webster did a good job going down the other end and converting into quick baskets for them.”
In the final quarter, it was the Coriell show for the Jeeps.
Coriell scored 10 points in the fourth, and South Webster scored 21 as a team in the quarter to take a 57-39 win.
“I just realized if I push the ball, usually things create themselves,” Coriell said. “[Shout out to] Shiloah, I’m just hoping he can get back soon.”
The Jeeps knew they had to overcome a fight from the Tartans, and Coach Cole gave his respect after the challenge.
“I take my hat off to Bailey, he got everything out of his boys that he could tonight,” Cole said. “A really good game and effort the whole game.”
It’s back to divisional foes for these two SOC schools in their next game on Friday.
South Webster (7-8, 4-6) will travel to Northwest Friday, then play Waverly on Saturday to make up a postponed game.
“We travel out to Northwest, and we had a good game here where they gave us all we wanted,” Cole said. “Then, we travel to Waverly, so we’re back-to-back Friday and Saturday.”
As for East (3-9, 3-6), they’ll host Symmes Valley at home on Friday.
“I think that’s a game that if we show up and play hard and do the things that we want to do, I think it’s a game that we can have a chance to compete in and hopefully win,” Bailey said. “It’s homecoming for us, and the kids should be a little excited for that, and hopefully we’ll show up and perform well.”