Even on a quiet night, Uplift guard Jeremy Roscoe made the biggest play of the game Thursday.
After Von Steuben’s Jacob Brown missed two free throws with three minutes left, Roscoe got the ball on the fast break, drove to the hoop and finished for an and-one layup. He made the free throw to give the Titans a 10-point lead, which Uplift would ultimately make the final deficit in a 58-48 home win.
“I knew we needed a basket,” Roscoe said. “When my team needs a basket, they just all look for me to score. I’ve got to score the ball.”
Roscoe finished with 11 points and fellow scorer Spencer Foley led the Titans with 12. Though the duo wasn’t able to take control, a team effort on both ends allowed Uplift to lead for the entire game. Eight players scored for the Titans, and they outrebounded the Panthers 35-26, forced 14 turnovers, blocked seven shots and didn’t allow an easy shot down the stretch.
“Von Steuben’s a scrappy team, and our guys just kind of out-scrapped them,” Uplift coach David Taylor said. “It wasn’t pretty. I just think we out-physicaled them and beat them to the rebounds during the last couple minutes.”
Uplift (14-4, 8-0 Red-North) led by as many as 11, but Von Steuben kept fighting back to keep the score within two or three baskets. The game was filled with fast breaks. The Titans pushed the tempo on offense and pressed and trapped on defense. The Panthers passed out of traps to create their own looks in transition. Waiting at the rim, though, were lengthy Uplift defenders like Roscoe and senior forward Jamaya Wyatt.
“We’ve got some defenders with some long arms,” Taylor said, adding that in the first half his players got out of position too often for block attempts. “At halftime we said, ‘hey, let’s keep our feet on the ground, let’s just get to the spot and get our hands up and live with the results.'”
Brown led Von Steuben (12-7, 4-4) with 15 points and six rebounds. Devon Grant had 12 points and Niko Anderson had seven points with six rebounds. As a team, the Panthers came down with nine offensive rebounds.
Von Steuben coach Vince Carter said he was pleased that his defense slowed down Roscoe and Foley, but free throw struggles (9-for-20 from the line) and a breakdown on Roscoe’s pivotal lay-up were the difference.
“I just told them, don’t let Jeremy get away from you,” Carter said. “They let him run right up there to get the ball and then run right over us. But that’s what good players do.”