Battle scars prove Unity is willing to go the tough route

Posted: Feb. 21, 2013 2:29 am Updated: Mar. 14, 2013 3:15 am

Herald-Whig Sports Writer

CAMP POINT, Ill. -- The blood that poured from above Lane Davis' left eye was symbolic of the kind of night the Unity boys basketball team had.

The Mustangs had to scrap, claw and overcome to keep their season alive.

Despite committing 13 first-half turnovers Wednesday night, the Mustangs righted the ship in the second half to finish off a 62-47 victory over South Fulton in the semifinals of the Class 1A Central Regional.

Unity turned the ball over only four times in the first 12 minutes of the second half, stretch its four-point halftime lead to 15.

"We did a much better job of taking care of the basketball," Unity coach Keith Carothers said. "We had 13 turnovers in the first half and I think nine of those were in the second quarter. ... Second half, especially in the third quarter, we made sure we took care of the ball. We slowed down a lot."

The early miscues forced the Mustangs to adjust their pace, helping them turn their 9-of-25 shooting in the first half into an 11-of-20 effort in the second half.

"It was kind of like a boxing match there," said Unity forward Reed Bentzinger, who finished with 15 points, 10 of which came in the second half. "We just threw the right punches. I think we're the best whenever we get out and run the floor and take care of the ball. We were running early, but not taking care of the ball."

Leading 42-35, Unity started a 13-5 run with 1 second left in the third on a Davis basket in the paint. Davis left the game with 6:51 remaining due to a cut with the Mustangs holding a 46-35 advantage. The remainder of the run was without Davis on the floor, forcing the Mustangs out of a post-oriented offense.

"When we have a smaller lineup like that, we tend to go to a little more motion, and it seemed to work out for us," Carothers said. "We had a lead in the fourth quarter, and they had to extend their defense out against us."

Andrew Doyle chipped in 15 points for the Mustangs, followed by Davis with 14.

A slow start for the Mustangs is something they know they can't afford in Friday night's regional championship game against Central.

"Usually the first game is getting the jitters out," Bentzinger said. "As we move on, we'll be ready the next time. We know the team we'll be facing is going to be tough, regardless. The records can be thrown out. We'll just take it one game at a time and hope we come out on top."




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