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Turpin Hands Elder an "L"

Posted on: March 2, 2020

During the tournament seeding process this year, Elder must have figured that their earlier three-point defeat at the hands of the Spartans was some kind of fluke.  Once Turpin declared their spot in the bracket, the Panthers pounced and elected to take their place one game away from the Spartans, setting up a likely re-match in round two.  We heard a lot of chatter regarding Elder “missing football players” during the first contest and that this time around, it would be a different story.  Not many outside of Spartan Nation were giving Turpin the edge leading up to the second round game, but none of that mattered to the Spartan players and coaches.  Jackson Holt’s game high 22 points and Owen Spencer’s 18 points, 9 boards, led Turpin to a thrilling and hard fought overtime victory.  The 21st “W” sets a new Turpin record for most wins in a season and improves their overall record to 21-3.     

After turning Elder away in their first possession, Turpin got on the board with a jumper in the lane by Owen Spencer and on their next possession, Jackson Holt drained his first shot with a turn-around jumper.  Shortly thereafter Holt drove baseline and found the big man under the basket for two.  Dom Cantrella then penetrated the lane and kicked it out to Spencer for the first three-ball of the game.  Holt then rattled in his own three-pointer, off the dribble to put the Spartans up 12-10.  After a free throw by Josh Bell, they led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.

The Owen Spencer Show continued in the second quarter when Trey Shetler fed Spencer at the top of the key for another three.  When Cantrella floated up a pass to Spencer for an “alley-oop,” the center was fouled on the play and went to the line, making one of two.  Spencer then pulled down a tough rebound and dished to Theisen Lee for his first bucket of the game, (Lee finished with six points), extending Turpin’s lead to its largest margin of seven at 19-12.  But after Spencer was forced to the bench with his second foul, Elder fought back with a 12-7 run to close the half, where Turpin held a slim 26-24 lead.

The Panthers opened the third with five straight points before Holt dropped a three in his defender’s eye, to tie it at 29.  He followed that up by shedding his defender and hitting a deuce from the baseline.  Spencer checked back in and shared the wealth by feeding Shetler under the basket for a layup.   On the other end of the court, Shetler dived after a loose ball, giving a small sample of why he was named ECC All Conference.  After Spencer was fouled shooting a three, he hit all of his free throws to put the Spartans up 38-33 with about 2:20 to go in the quarter.  But Elder would come back to score the final four points, including a fortunate tip-in that occurred relatively far from the basket after a missed shot, with around three seconds remaining.  Going into the fourth, Turpin was clinging to a 38-37 lead.

Turpin got the ball to open the fourth but was called for a questionable five second violation, which led to a score by Elder and another lead change.  Spencer went to work under the basket and earned a tough bucket to recapture the lead.  Points were hard to come by as both teams tightened up on offense and defense.  Trey Shetler was fouled during a rebound attempt at the 2:58 mark and made two critical shots to put the Spartans up 42-41.  Elder then drained a three to take a two point lead, but Holt came through in the clutch with a drive and a jumper from the free throw line to tie it at 44.  Elder called a time out at 1:36 to talk it over. 

The Panthers milked the clock, as they looked to penetrate Turpin’s man-defense.  When Elder got a little wobbly, they called another time out at 1:02.  Again, they searched for a crack in the defense but there was none.  As the clock ticked down to the final seconds, a Panther guard attempted a desperation drive and put up a bad shot.  Spencer came down with the rebound and was clearly fouled hard as he was knocked to the floor with 1.3 seconds left.  With the Spartans in the double-bonus, Spencer should have gone to the free throw line to shoot two.  At 74% for the year, he certainly would have made at least one and Turpin should have been celebrating a victory in regulation.  Coulda, shoulda, woulda… Somehow the referees determined that the “correct” call was a jump ball, giving it back to the Panthers with just over one second remaining.  Turpin would have to D-up once again, which they did when the shot after the inbound pass clanged off the side of the backboard. 

To start the 4:00 overtime period, it looked as if Elder would win the tip-off, but out of nowhere, Shetler intervened and deflected the ball to the Spartans.  He would soon be rewarded when Spencer dished to him under the basket where he was fouled.  As he did earlier in the game, Shetler stepped to the line and buried both free throws when the team needed them most.  He would finish the game with six points including 4/4 from the line.  After getting a stop, Holt was fouled aggressively on his shot attempt and he made Elder pay with two from the stripe.  At this point, Turpin could sense blood in the water as they took a 48-44 lead.  But things took a turn when Cantrella fouled his man during a three point attempt.  Elder made all three which gave them new life at 48-47.

On the ensuing possession, Holt garnered the attention of several Panthers which allowed him to sling a pass to Cantrella who was left alone on the wing… Drain-o!  His only points of the game, but they were big ones as Turpin regained their four point lead with 1:50 left.  After trading fouls which resulted in one point for each team, Elder was able to cash in on a three pointer to pull within one at 52-51.  From there, Holt took over with his ball handling, daring Elder to foul and they obliged, sending him to the line where he led the ECC at 84%.  After sinking the first shot, Elder called time out, perhaps in the hopes that it might ice the shooter.  No chance… Holt made the second to increase the lead to 54-51.  After a nice defensive play by Spencer, the Spartans got the ball back to Holt who was again fouled and again deposited both free throws in a business-as-usual fashion, giving Turpin a 56-51 advantage.  With about 13 seconds remaining, Elder pushed the ball up the floor and was able to get off a three that found its way to the hole with 7.6 left.  Turpin’s plan was simple… Get the ball to Jackson Holt on the in-bound pass.  Elder’s strategy was also simple… Don’t let Holt get the ball.  But before the pass could even be thrown, Holt was fouled in the process of being double teamed.  He was rewarded with another trip to the line, where you guessed it… he made both attempts, driving the final nail and securing the 58-54 win. 

Clutch shooting and free-throws by the Spartans were the keys to victory.  In addition, smart and solid defensive play afforded them the edge in fouls, (Turpin 4 v. Elder 9) heading into the overtime period.  Next up is #2 Lakota East, who will be playing a home game of sorts at Lakota West’s gym.  The winner moves on to District Finals to face Beavercreek on March 8th at the Cintas Center.  LET’S GO SPARTANS!!!