Free throw woes doom Block

Published 12:59 am Wednesday, March 3, 2010

LEBEAU, La. — Heading into Tuesday night’s game at No. 4 seed North Central, Block head coach K.G. Watkins knew his team would have to play good defense and cut down on the turnovers if the 13th-seeded Bears were to upset the Hurricanes.

Another thing that Watkins said might end up being crucial if the game was close down the stretch would be free throws. And he was right as Block missed 17 free throws in North Central’s 70-64 win.

“We shot 9 of 26 from the line and had too many turnovers. Just what I was afraid of. They’ve got a good squad, but we beat ourselves tonight,” Watkins said. “We couldn’t get into synch. A six-point game with that much disparity of free throws. We made 33 percent of our free throws and you can’t win doing that.”

And this was a close game almost from start to finish, with the exception of the third quarter. The first quarter was a good one for both teams and ended with Block holding a 16-15 lead. North Central then outscored Block 18-15 in the second quarter to grab a 33-31 lead at halftime. Then it looked like the Hurricanes were going to blow the Bears right out of their gym thanks to an 18-11 advantage in the third quarter for a 51-42 lead.

Block managed to outscore North Central 22-19 in the fourth quarter, but as Watkins pointed out, the Bears were their own worst enemy when they had the ball.

“Turning the ball over too much. Missing free throws when we needed to make them. We missed to many lay-ups,” Watkins said. “Defensively, we played well. I knew it was going to be one of those games that would be competitive. They made their free throws and we missed ours.”

Block, which finished its season with a 14-14 record, was led by Jerome Jefferson with 15 points. Antoine Bowie and Preston Bowman had 14 points apiece and Javan Dunbar chipped in with 12 points.

North Central (26-4) was led by David Powell with a game-high 23 points while Nathaniel Freeman and Jerome Wilson each finished with 11 points. The Hurricanes will take on the winner of the Grambling-Plain Dealing game in a quarterfinal game this Friday.