South Western High senior Parker Bean's mindset was simple Tuesday night as the Mustangs traveled to Spring Grove to take on the Rockets -- stay patient until his time came and then attack the basket.
"Spring Grove did a lot of switching on the screen which creates a lot of mismatches," Bean said.
The Mustangs (4-2, 3-0 YAIAA I) took advantage as Bean scored a game-high 27-points to lead South Western to a 57-36 victory.
Bean and the Mustangs got off to a slow start as they took a 24-21 lead into the half.
The opportunities for South Western were plentiful. They were just unable to convert.
"Spring Grove played well," South Western head coach Nathan Brodbeck said. "We felt like we had opportunities in the first half, but they just weren't falling down. That is the way basketball goes. Spring Grove did a night job taking advantage of that."
Darrien Gaskins and Logan Hagerman led the way for the Rockets (0-5, 0-3) in the first half with six points each, keeping them in the game.
"I was really pleased with the first half," Spring Grove head coach Ryan Luckman said. "I thought we played a heck of a first half. I thought we were aggressive. I thought we did a heck of a job on the boards. I thought we had chances to maybe take the lead with foul shooting and layups, but we didn't make them."
Many of the Rockets' first-half points were off forced turnovers and fastbreaks from defensive rebounds.
Despite the Mustangs' first-half frustrations, Brodbeck went into halftime pleased.
"We held them to 21 points," he said. "It is our goal to hold teams below 50 for the game and we were under that. We told the guys, 'It is a four-quarter game and we have 16 more minutes. Start the third quarter as if it is a new game.'"
The Mustangs came out and scored four quick points and then a leg injury to Rocket center Colton Crouthamel allowed the Rockets to dominate the inside for the rest of the game.
"He (Crouthamel) had defended Parker very well in the first half," Brodbeck said. "That was tough to see. He is a tough kid. Our focus was to get the ball to Parker and, for much of the game, we struggled to do that. We stayed positive with him and told him that it was going to happen, and it did."
Bean scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half and 15 of his team's 22 fourth-quarter points to extend a 35-30 lead at the end of three quarters.
"Of course, from the get-go, you want to do that, but the shots weren't falling for me, especially in the first half," Bean said. "Sort of once I started feeling the touch a little bit and getting the mismatches from below, I was able to go up strong and finish. When they focus on me, that opens up other opportunities for other guys."
No one took more advantage of that than fellow senior Mike Duffy who scored 13 points and nailed four long range three-pointers from well beyond the line.
Bean's performance impressed Luckman as well.
"He is an animal," Luckman said. "He is big and strong. He is a very good player. Some of our guys tried their best to stop him, but when he has them by half-a-foot and 20 pounds, he is hard to stop."
More than anything, Brodbeck was pleased with the way his defense played in the second half, limiting the Rockets to 15 points.
"That is what we stress," he said. "If you play defense on the nights when the offense is off like it was tonight, you keep yourself in the game."
SOUTH WESTERN (57)
Parker Bean 13 1-3 27, Mike Duffy 4 1-4 13, Lane 3 3-3, McKercher 1 2-2 4, Cook 2 0-2 4, Robinson 0 0-2 0, Geiman 0 0-0 0, McMaster 0 0-0 0, Sanders 0 0-0 0, Staub 0 0-0 0, Hess 0 0-0 0.. Totals23 7-16 57
SPRING GROVE (36)
Logan Hagerman 3 4-9 10, Spangler 3 0-0 8, Gaskins 2 1-2 6, Gordon 2 0-0 5, Kline 1 1-2 3, Sheffer 1 0-0 2, Crouthamel 1 0-0 2, Krause 0 0-2 0, Wildasin 0 0-0 0.. Totals13 6-15 36.
SOUTH WESTERN 11 13 11 22 -- 57
SPRING GROVE 5 16 9 6 -- 36
3-point goals -- South Western 4 (Duffy 4); Spring Grove 4 (Spangler 2, Gaskins, Gordon).
JV score -- Southwestern won, 29-21.