TOLEDO – Early in the season it is expected that teams might struggle executing but by late January the kinks are ordinarily worked out and teams are fine tuning. Friday, however, Toledo Start and Toledo St. John’s played like two teams beginning a new season. Nevertheless, someone had to win and St. John’s finally prevailed, 54-52.
It is difficult to decide what part of each team’s game was their worst. Both teams shot poorly; both teams turned the ball over frequently; and neither team was particularly effective rebounding the ball.
“It was ugly when we did score, and it was ugly after we scored,” said St. John’s coach Ed Heintschel.
In the first half there were no highlights. St. John’s shot 4-for-22. Start shot 5-for-21. The score was 14-12. With such stats, it is hard to find a detail to point out as a positive.
The second half was played better by both teams with St. John’s dominating the third and Start, or rather, Cameron Hill, dominating the fourth. The Titans picked up their shooting percentage substantially in the second half and, as a result, they were able to not only pull ahead of the Spartans early in the quarter, but also, build up, at one point, a fourteen point lead. However, it was a lead that they were unable to protect.
In the fourth quarter, the Start Spartans came back from 14 down to pull even with the Titans 52-52 with just over 20 seconds remaining in the game but could not keep the Titans from scoring a mildly controversial winning basket. With time expiring, the Titans advanced the ball up-court to find a wide-open Alvin Thomas underneath the basket who successfully laid it in for the winning basket.
The story in the fourth quarter, however, was the play of Start senior, Cameron Hill. Hill, who was playing in only his third varsity contest, was unstoppable by the Titans in the final quarter. Scoring 16 points in the final frame, Hill presented match-up problems for the Titans that nearly cost them the game.
Coach Heinstchel used three separate players on Hill but none the three proved to be particularly effective.
Hill’s outstanding fourth quarter, however, was not enough for the Spartans as, in the end, the Titans converted 10-for-12 foul shots to hold off the surging Spartans.
Only one player for St. John’s managed to reach double figures. Freshmen Cheatham Norrils, on the strength of 6-for7 foul shooting in the fourth quarter, tallied 11.
Seven other Titans contributed to the scoring effort.
The big star for Start, as already stated, was Cameron Hill. Hill led all scorers with 19. Teammate Mike Williamson, also a senior, was also in double figures with 10.
The Start loss drops their record to 7-7 but they are only 3-6 in the City League.
“We have lost a total of 5 games now in the City by a total of 10 points,” said a frustrated but optimistic Guerrero. “There is still a long way to go.”
St. John’s improves to 9-5 and 6-1 in the City League.