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Lions' comeback bid falls flat

St. Helens rallies in the third, but comes up empty handed


by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Lion sophomore Quintin Galvin tries to sneak past the outstretched arm of Madison's Austin Powers, who finished with a game-high 21 points to lead the Senators to a 64-50 win over St. Helens.Lions' head coach Jerry Allen has had just about enough of sloppy play.

Minutes after St. Helens' fifth consecutive loss, this time at the hands of Madison to the tune of 64-50, Allen repeated one phrase over and over again.

“We didn't take care of the ball,” he said. “That's kind of what the problem is. We're not taking care of the ball when we need to.”

Just a week after a double-overtime loss to Willamette left St. Helens grasping at air, the Lions watched Madison run away and hide early on, putting a damper on what the Lions hoped would be a chance to bounce back.

Trailing by seven after the first quarter, St. Helens struggled to hang on to the ball in the second quarter and found themselves trailing 32-18 at the halftime break, but something changed at halftime.

The Lions walked a little late on to the court, only having enough time for a few jumpers before second half play began, but it was all they would need. Tanner Long nailed his first shot of the quarter, a three from the near side of the court, and the comeback was on.

The Lions relaxed as the third quarter stretched on. Shots started to fall, and the team began to believe they were more than capable of making the dramatic comeback.

Madison didn’t score until the Lions had already stormed back to within seven, much of their damage coming from beyond the arc. St. Helens nailed six shots from downtown in the period, including three from senior Devon Jewett and a trey from senior Gage Bumgardner in the final seconds as Madison escaped, clutching a 41-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

However, it was all for naught. Even with all the momentum behind them in the final period, the Lions couldn’t sustain their run, watching as Senator seniors Aubrey Stephens and Austin Powers combined for 19 points in the fourth to spur Madison, much of their scoring coming via fast break buckets.

Allen stressed – and showed with a drastically different lineup down the stretch – his frustration with the Lions' inability to hold on to the ball. The point guard position is especially important, he said, as when the ball is stolen at the top of the three point line, there's no one to get back on defense.

“We had 16 turnovers, and they really didn't pressure up against us,” said Allen. "We gave them the ball. If we don't have 16 turnovers... we shot the ball pretty well, we did some things correct, we just need to take care of the basketball.”

For the Lions, it was their fifth loss in succession after a pair of victories to start out the season. St. Helens was led by Bumgardner, who finished with 13 for the Lions. Jewett and Cody Teyema each had nine, all from behind the three-point line. Long and Corey West struggled from the field, finishing with just seven and two points respectively.

SUMMARY

St. Helens 50, Madison 64

SHL 7 11 20 1250

MAD 14 18 9 23 – 64

St. Helens (50) - Bumgardner 13, Jewett 9, Teyema 9, Long 7, Spencer 4, Helgerson 3, Poorman 3, Galvin 2, West 2

Madison (64) - Powers 21, Stephens 16, Bin Li 8, Wright 6, Hutson, Fitzgerald-Warren 2