With the game suddenly in the balance, Glynn Watson knew it was time to stop hanging on the perimeter and create opportunities closer to the rim.
The St. Joseph senior point guard made a gliding drive and feed to Nick Rakocevic for a layup. He followed it with his own beautiful drive as the Chargers restored order after Kenwood ripped off a huge run to cut a 14-point deficit to five points with just over three minutes remaining.
Watson scored a game-high 20 points to lead four double-figure scorers as the No. 2 Chargers earned a hard-fought 67-54 victory over No. 13 Kenwood in the marquee game of the Bob Hambric Coaches against Cancer Shootout at TF North Saturday.
A Nebraska-recruit, Watson also registered five assists and five steals for the Chargers (13-3).
His steady hand reversed Kenwood’s momentum, denying any chance of a repeat of Tuesday night as St. Joseph saw an 11-point fourth quarter lead disappear in a road loss against DePaul Prep.
“I just tried to stay aggressive and get to the rim, like I did in the first half,” Watson said.
St. Joseph led by 14 at the start of the fourth quarter only to be nearly undone by a flurry of turnovers, including on three consecutive possessions as Kenwood’s Nick Robinson (17 points, six rebounds) keyed the Broncos’ push.
Robinson scored 15 points in the second half, including consecutive drives that sliced the Chargers’ lead to 54-49 with 3:11 remaining in the game. Watson answered by catching the ball on the left edge, working through the lane and making a diagonal pass that Rakocevic (10 points, seven rebounds) finished in traffic.
“We were a little sloppy but we made up for it in the last couple of minutes,” Watson said. “Coach [Gene Pingatore] told me no jump shots and get to the lane, and that’s what I was able to do and Nick did a good job there.”
Junior guard Joffrey Brown scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half for the Chargers. Rapidly improving 6-7 sophomore post player Lavon Thomas added seven points and eight rebounds.
Northwestern-recruit Jordan Ash (13 points) converted 6-of-6 at the free throw line in the fourth quarter. His steal helped turn the tide in the Chargers’ favor on their game-clinching 13-5 burst.
“Offensively we have so many weapons I feel like we’re always going to be in the game,” Ash said. “They made that run and we got a little unorganized there, but we recovered and played our game.
“One thing we took away from the DePaul Prep game is that we have to get up for every game. That loss doesn’t define us. When you have good guard play and then Nick is doing his thing in the middle, I feel good about us.”
Kenwood (10-4) struggled to match the Chargers’ fluid offensive attack at the start. Watson scored 13 points in the first half as St. Joseph threatened to turn the game into a blow out at the start.
Watson’s early play, knocking down a three-pointer and drilling a jumper off the break, ignited the Chargers. St. Joseph hit its first five shots and bolted to a 14-3 lead four minutes into the game.
Kenwood never led and the Broncos suffered a four-minute scoring drought to start the second quarter. Guard Rahamanh Katumbusi scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half for the Broncos. Guard Stephen Williams recorded seven points, six assists and two steals.
Kenwood forced 18 St. Joseph turnovers. Zion Morgan added six points for the Broncos.