ALL SPORTS CHAMPS
NCC ATHLETE OF
Bearcats eke out win in Super Ball Invitational
February 4, 2012North Central Conference
INDIANAPOLIS -- Senior Josh Mawhorr had a free throw attempt with 1.6 seconds left in Friday's game to expand a three-point lead to four and seal a victory against Logansport.
He missed the freebie.
Nevertheless, the Bearcats would have never gotten the ultimate 56-53 win they did against the Berries without him.
The big man played a critical role in a sloppy game that never had much rhythm as no single star other than Mawhorr emerged for Class 3A No. 1 Central (14-2).
But with perhaps his best, and certainly his grittiest, performance of the season, Mawhorr scored 11 points, grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds and secured the game's Most Valuable Player award in Friday's game in Banker's Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, the nightcap of a tripleheader called The Super Ball Invitational.
"Sometimes it's hard for a big guy to take over just because he doesn't get the ball in his hands a lot, and Josh was able to do that with his effort on the glass, really," Central coach Matt Fine said.
While Mawhorr grabbed seven rebounds in the first half, he made his biggest impact in the third and fourth periods.
As Central struggled to a 25-23 halftime deficit, the purple and white were in need of a spark.
Down by four points, 33-29, Mawhorr made his first basket of the half with just 2:12 left in the third period. He dumped in two more baskets before the end of the period, and, as a result, Central took a 37-36 lead into the fourth.
"We just didn't really have a purpose, and I just figured if I played hard and got some offensive rebounds and got a few garbage points it might get us going and get us a little momentum," Mawhorr said of Central's offense, which scored its second lowest point total of the season. "It was like we were struggling all night to get over that hump."
The senior went on to score four more points and grab four more rebounds in the fourth quarter, but his effort almost went to waste thanks to some careless play late by the Bearcats.
Ahead by its largest margin of the game, 49-41, with just 3:50 left to play, Central committed four turnovers that directly turned into points for Logansport in the ensuing two minutes. The miscues turned the North Central Conference battle into a one-point, 52-51, slugfest with just under two minutes to play.
Ahead by just one point -- 54-53, with 29.1 seconds to go -- Central's Kaleb Mallory sliced through Logansport's full-court pressure and broke free for a layup that gave the Bearcats a 56-53 advantage.
On the ensuing possession, Logansport's Brock Armstrong got off a good look at a 3-point shot to tie the game. The ball bounced to the ground and Mawhorr secured his 14th and final rebound and was fouled with 1.6 seconds left to play.
He missed the front end of the one-and-one, but with nothing more than a three-quarter-court heave of a 3-point attempt left for Logansport, the game was mostly sealed, anyway.
Said Mawhorr of the foul shot, though, "Yeah, I'm still pretty ticked about that."
Aside from Mawhorr's effort, Travis Woods led the Bearcats with 19 points, which included 11 fourth-quarter points. Nick Osborne had 10 points, and Mallory finished with six.
The weekend gets no easier for the Bearcats after Friday's tense victory. Central, ranked No. 4 in this week's Indiana Coaches' Association overall poll, returns home tonight to face IBCA No. 7 and Class 4A No. 5 Pendleton Heights (16-2). Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.