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Young McCutcheon lineup runs out of steam

February 12, 2012
McCutcheon High School

Playing shorthanded against a more athletic and taller Fishers team, McCutcheon kept hanging around but ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.

The end result was McCutcheon dropping a 58-50 contest to the Tigers at Resler Gymnasium.

The Mavericks fell to 5-11 on the season and 2-4 in Hoosier Crossroads Conference play, while Fisher remained one game out of the conference lead at 6-1, 9-7 overall.

McCutcheon kept fighting back from double-digit deficits to sneak back into the ball game.

In the fourth quarter, the Mavericks cut a 13-point Fishers lead to seven, 55-48, with 3:02 left on a Juan Del Real 15-foot jumper.

But the Mavericks missed a chance to trim the lead even further on its next two possessions after getting stops on defense with two missed shots and a missed free throw on a one-and-one opportunity.

With McCutcheon forced to foul after the failed attempts, the Tigers made three of four free throws down the stretch to close out the game.

"That's the way it was tonight," McCutcheon coach Rick Peckinpaugh said. "They would either make a big shot or we would miss one that would have made the game a little closer. We got it down and hung around. We had a couple of 3-point shots that didn't fall that would have cut it down to four points."

Playing without three players -- two from suspensions and one from an injury -- Peckinpaugh went young, adding sophomore Nathan Deno and freshman Mark Neill to the regular rotation that already included freshman point guard Tre'Shon Heard.

Neill scored 10 points, making two of four shots from 3-point range, to match Heard's 10 points. Del Real led McCutcheon scorers with 12 points.

"The young kids really stepped up tonight," Peckinpaugh said. "There were times when we had two freshmen and a couple of sophomores on the floor and they have to learn how to play varsity. The good thing is they are going to just get better and better, probably every week."

But rebounds and turnovers haunted the Mavericks throughout the game. The Tigers, behind 6-foot-8 center Tyler Alderman, held a lopsided 30-17 advantage on the boards. Fishers grabbed a whopping 14 offensive rebounds.

"We're just happy to get out of here with the win," said Fishers coach Joe Leonard. "Coach Peckinpaugh does such a great job mixing and switching defenses that it made us slow down and think. He does a great job with his talent level."

Forward C.J. Johnson led all scorers with 15 points while J.P. Pena added 13 and Joe Retic 10.

"They did a very good job of taking Tyler away from us offensively," Leonard said of his center, who finished with five points, less than half of his scoring average. "They played a zone that pushed him outside of his comfort zone. We had to run to get a little movement."

McCutcheon's best chance to get back into the game came in the third quarter, using a 7-0 run to slash a 10-point deficit to 40-37 after Neill's driving layup with 2:44 remaining. The Tigers, though, shut out the Mavericks the rest of the period, forcing consecutive turnovers and turning them into easy layups for Jon Flemming and Pena.

Pena finished the quarter with a 3-pointer to give Fishers a 10-point lead again going into the fourth quarter, 47-37.

"We turned the ball over too many times and we didn't rebound well," Peckinpaugh said. "That was a real key in the game. Their offensive rebounds accounted for at least 10 to 12 of their points. That's something we just can't afford to give up as a team. That hadn't been a problem for us most of season but it was a real bugaboo tonight."

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