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Out of control : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Out of control
Schnable sites ball control issues in 66-58 loss to Metea Valley

by Kristin Sharp


Monday's third-place game of the Wheaton Warrenville South's Martin Luther King Tournament ended in the same fashion it began.

The Metea Valley boys' basketball team opened the game on an 11-4 run, and the Mustangs ended the game with a 12-0 run to clinch a 66-58 victory over Oswego on Monday night.

York defeated Bartlett 61-55 in the tournament championship while Palatine defeated Chicago Clemente 59-55 for the consolation championship.

"We've been here before - we were just here on Friday night. We got a four-point lead and just can't put them away," Oswego head coach Kevin Schnable said. "The identified problem is ball control. We just struggled to take care of the ball. We committed 20 turnovers, but how many in that critical stretch there? We have a 58-54 lead with three or four minutes left and we have to be able to seal the deal by taking care of the ball. Our turnovers, to their credit, they made things happen on defense."

Oswego (7-9) and Metea Valley met for the second time this season after the Panthers defeated the Mustangs in Game 2 of the Hoops for Healing Tournament on Nov. 26.

This time, Metea Valley (10-8) was ready for Oswego and jumped out to an 11-6 lead in the opening quarter on Marquell Oliver's three-pointer. Oliver was one of four Mustangs to finish in double-digit scoring with 13 points.

Oswego junior Zach West hit a layup midway through the first period to pull the Panthers within two (13-10) and sophomore Steven Frank hit two late field goals, but Metea Valley connected on two three-pointers to maintain a 25-16 lead entering the second period.

Freshman Jaylen Jones got into the scoring column with the first basket of the second quarter and sophomore Joe Hennessy hit a three-pointer to cut the Mustangs' lead to single digits, 27-21.

Oswego continued to chip away at its deficit, with freshman Isiah Richardson coming off the bench to go 2-for-2 at the foul line before hitting a field goal for a 32-30 game.

West and Frank scored four late baskets to keep the Panthers within striking distance at halftime, with Oswego trailing 43-38 at intermission.

"We battled back," Schnable said. "We were in position to win if we just take care of the basketball."

Schnable was forced to take an immediate timeout after the first possession of the second half after Metea Valley hit a three-pointer out of the gate to lead 45-38. Oswego committed two more turnovers as Metea Valley's lead swelled to 51-42, but sophomore Brice Robinson sank a field goal which sparked an 11-0 run into the end of the third quarter.

Jones hit a jumper and Hennessy continued the momentum with his own field goal while Metea Valley committed a turnover which led to a three-point play by Jones to tie the game at 51 with 2:40 left in the third quarter.

West's driving layup gave Oswego its first lead since the opening basket, 53-51, and early baskets by Jones and Richardson - combined with a free throw by West - gave Oswego a 58-54 lead. But with nearly six minutes left to play, those would be Oswego's final points of the game.

Metea Valley would score the next 12 points, tying the game at 58 with 5:30 left and taking advantage of more Panther turnovers and missed shots to build a six-point lead with 90 seconds to play.

West finished with a game-high 16 points, Hennessy added 11 points and Frank scored 10 points in addition to seven rebounds.

"There were some good things in that game; we just couldn't finish," Schnable said.

After a 1-2 finish at Wheaton South, Oswego will look to return to the win column on Friday, traveling to Plainfield South for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff with the Cougars. The Panthers will host Romeoville in a rescheduled game on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Notes: Oswego opened the tournament with an 83-69 win over Clemente on Saturday to move forward in the bracket. The Panthers established a 45-37 lead by halftime after pouring in 19 points in the second period of play.

West scored 23 points including nine in the second-quarter run while Frank scored 16 points and Jaylen Jones and junior Javon Jones scored 11 each.

Oswego met Bartlett in the semifinals and lost 65-47. The Hawks used a 22-point second quarter to take a 35-19 halftime lead and never looked back on their way to the championship game. West had a team-best 12 points while Robinson scored 11 points.

Last Friday, Oswego lost to Minooka, 62-57 in overtime. The Panthers held a 38-36 lead entering the fourth quarter and built a 45-41 advantage with a 2-for-2 effort by Hennessy at the foul line, but Minooka hit a late three-pointer to take a 46-45 lead.

Oswego and Minooka exchanged points at the free-throw line, with Minooka falling behind 51-49, but the Indians made a basket at the end of regulation to tie the game at 51.

In overtime, Minooka scored the first three points before Frank scored two at the line. Minooka was efficient at the line - going 8-for-12 - to take a 60-55 lead with the help of its free-throw shooting. Jaylen Jones' late basket put the Panthers within five, but it was too late for a comeback effort.

West scored 18 points while Frank and Robinson had nine each. Oswego shot 12-for-21 at the free-throw line and 39 percent from field goal range.

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