ELDRIDGE — The North Scott boys basketball team has players with experience to make big plays when needed. Right now, Davenport North is searching for those players.
The Lancers leaned on Corvon Seales and Bailey Basala to make big shots in key spots to help hold off a game effort from the Wildcats on Tuesday night at The Pit. That was the difference in North Scott’s 52-45 win in Mississippi Athletic Conference action.
The victory leaves the Lancers (7-2, 5-1 MAC) in sole possession of second-place in the conference, one game behind league-leader Bettendorf (7-2, 6-0 MAC). The Wildcats (4-5) continue to show they are a stronger team than their 1-5 mark in league play but continue to be sunk by a 3-4 minute stretch in games where things go south.
North came out strong in the first quarter and led 13-6 after one period but Seales showed that he can be, at times, almost unguardable. During the first 4 minutes of the second quarter, the junior slashing guard scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers, to get the home team going.
It was part of an overall 17-5 run in the first five minutes of the second quarter by the home team that turned the first-quarter deficit into a 28-24 halftime lead.
Seales finished with a game-high 24 points.
“Corvon is just so long and he can shoot from all over the place and when it gets hot, it’s tough to stop,” Wildcats coach Joe Ewen said. “You just kind of hope to contain him. When they needed a shot, they went to him.”
North jumped out quickly again to start the second half behind a 3-pointer from VJ Wilmington and a bucket from Atticus Taylor to put North back in front at 29-28. But Seales scored the next six points for the Lancers with three strong drives to the basket that resulted in two baskets and a pair of foul shots to push the lead to 34-29.
The Wildcats twice got back within three points in the second half, however, both times Basala hit 3-pointers to push the lead back to six and stymie North’s momentum. Basala finished with 13 points and nine rebounds for the winners, including several defensive boards to keep North at bay in the fourth quarter.
The Lancers also got key free throws from Drew Boffeli and a big steal from Nathan Wilkerson in the fourth quarter. Boffeli, Basala and Seales salted the game away at the free-throw line.
Taylor led the Wildcats with 15 points and seven rebounds. Wilmington and Max Taylor each finished with 10 points for the visitors.
“Their guys made plays when they had to,” Taylor said of North Scott. “We needed to communicate better on screens (against Seales). When (Seales) went to the basket he used a drop-step or passed it off. We just need to communicate better on defense.”
North Scott coach Shamus Budde was glad his team was able to pull out the victory to stay close in the conference race.
“We did a good job of protecting our home floor tonight because in our league, you have to win at home and sneak some out on the road,” Budde said.
For the Wildcats, it’s just another lesson that hopefully will lead in a positive direction.
“For us, it’s just getting over that hump,” Ewen said. “When it gets time, we have to find a bucket or get a stop and that’s a game, where as coaches, we have to do a better job. You just have to find a way to turn that around to get the ‘W’.”