Spartans KO Elder in Heavyweight Bout

Posted on: January 4, 2020

The Spartans came into the contest looking for respect beyond the ECC as they hosted the Elder Panthers on Thursday night.  They certainly took a step in the right direction by knocking out Elder in a slug-fest that came down to the last minutes of the game.  Turpin was led by Owen Spencer’s double-double, including 16 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.  The win keeps Turpin’s record a pristine 9 – 0, (5 - 0 ECC.)   

Elder drew first blood but Turpin answered when Ethan Zinn found Theisen Lee under the basket for a layup.  On the other end of the floor, Spencer had his first block of the night which he turned into his first basket of the night.  The two squads traded punches including a timely three from Spencer to tie the game at 11.  Round one ended with Elder holding a slim lead at 14-13.

Turpin began the second with a 7-0 run when Dom Cantrella penetrated and then kicked out to Zinn on the wing for a three to give the Spartans the lead.  On the next possession, Jackson Holt got in a jab with a turn-around jumper.  After missing a three point attempt, Cantrella quickly stole the ball from an unsuspecting Panther for an easy layup, extending the lead to six at 20-14.  Turpin kept Elder in the corner in the second, allowing only three points.  At half the Spartans led 22-17.

The Spartans continued to work the body in the third… Zinn lobbed it in to Spencer who beat his man for a basket.  On defense, Zinn made a spectacular play, diving onto the floor to win the possession.  Good karma followed as he quickly drained a three-pointer in the eye of his defender, giving Turpin their largest lead at 27-17, causing the Panthers to call a time out.  A possession later, Turpin began to trap on defense and Elder made them pay with a three pointer.  But when Zinn’s defender took a gamble and went for a steal, he stepped up and smoothly sank another from behind the arc, keeping the ten point cushion.  The Panthers were getting wobbly and took a standing eight-count before regaining their legs and going on a 9-2 run.  Holt stopped the bleeding with an indefensible turn around fade-away along the baseline…easily the prettiest shot of the night.   Going into the final round, Turpin was ahead on the score-card 34-29.

Elder continued to deal out punishment as they began the fourth with an 8-0 run, giving them the lead.  Spencer fought back with a three pointer to tie it up at 37.  The Panthers continued to pound the Spartans, earning a 42-37 advantage with 2:37 remaining.  As the Panthers looked for the knockout by way of layup, Holt was there for a critical block.  Cantrella then muscled into the lane for the hoop and the harm.  After making the free throw, Turpin was down only two.  Elder was subsequently fouled and made only one of two.  Spencer was fouled and cashed in on both free throws, cutting the deficit to one.  As Elder brought the ball up the floor, Cantrella tipped it away, causing a pile of bodies scrambling for the ball at mid-court, before Spencer pounced on the rock and alertly called a time out at the 1:03 mark.  Turpin still trailed 43-42.

After a missed three point attempt by Turpin, Elder secured the rebound and was immediately fouled.  With the Klinger Krazies in full-tilt mode, the Panther missed a critical front end of the one-and-one and Spencer pulled down the board with :44 to go.  Cantrella changed speeds and was able to turn the corner on his defender, beating him to the hoop for the go ahead bucket… Spartans led 44-43.  As Elder was setting up their offense, they were called for a hard illegal screen, gladly taken by Zinn.  Spartans now had the lead and the ball with 17 seconds remaining.  Everyone in the gym knew the plan was to get the ball to Holt, who would surely be fouled.  Turpin was able to inbound to Cantrella who passed to Holt, but Elder allowed precious seconds to tick away before Turpin called time out with at the :11 mark.  On the next inbound play, Deven Marathe found Cantrella who was fouled immediately.  With just over five seconds left in the game, Cantrella stepped to the line to deliver the potential knock-out blow, in the form of two made free throws…Turpin up 46-43.

Elder pushed the ball over mid court and called a time out with 2.4 seconds remaining.  After their initial inbound attempt was swatted by Holt, the second attempt resulted in a clean shot from the corner, which would not fall.  This contest would not “go to the judges” in overtime.  The Spartans decisively knocked out their opponent, proving they have a solid chin as they battled throughout the game, losing and then regaining the lead, late in the contest.  The next main event will be on Saturday at Turpin vs. Covington Catholic.


Notable Performances:

Scoring:  Spencer - 16; Cantrella – 11; Zinn – 9; Holt – 6; Lee - 4

Rebounds:  Spencer – 10; Lee – 3; Holt - 2

Assists:  Holt & Cantrella – 3; Zinn & Lee - 2

Steals:  Cantrella & Lee – 3; Holt – 2; Zinn & Shetler - 1

Blocks:  Spencer & Holt - 3