DALEVILLE – When Brady Harris sank a 3-pointer just before the buzzer in the third quarter Saturday, Cowan boys basketball coach Lee Ingles got the sense his team was on its way. He was correct.
Ingles’ Blackhawks pulled away in the fourth quarter, picking up a 55-40 win on the road at archrival Daleville. While the Blackhawks ultimately won by 15 points, the game was much closer most of the way.
Harris’ 3-pointer to close the third period gave Cowan a six-point lead. Daleville led by one at the end of the first quarter and the game was tied at halftime.
Yet with each made basket late in the game, Cowan’s energy level on the bench seemed to grow as the Blackhawks’ lead expanded. It is the first victory of the season for the Blackhawks (1-6, 1-1 Mid-Eastern Conference).
“(Harris) hadn’t shot the ball well, and he’s our shooter,” Ingles said. “And he nailed that one and from then on our confidence built and we just exploded. So that was a huge shot.”
Ingles, who is in his first year coaching the Blackhawks, said he felt his team executed its gameplan better in the second half. He noticed several rushed shots in the first half, but felt his players utilized better shot selection in the third and fourth quarters.
Cowan used a balanced approach offensively, with five different Blackhawks scoring at least six points. Clayton Kiplinger led the offensive charge with 15 points and Harris scored 12. Breydn Weston scored eight points, while also guiding the Blackhawks on the glass with 12 rebounds.
Daleville (2-8, 0-4 MEC) wasn’t able to establish the same balance. Bryce Stephens led the Broncos with 21 points, and TJ Price added 11 to go along with his seven rebounds. Only three other Broncos scored, with none of Stephens’ and Price’s teammates logging more than three points.
“They kind of went to that zone there, and kind of stifled us a little bit,” Daleville coach Daniel Hanson said. “And they hit some shots, got some momentum going. And once you get that momentum going, it’s hard to break that.”
After taking six losses to open its season, Ingles said he concentrated on working with his players on how to finish tight games. That didn’t seem to be a problem on Saturday, as the Blackhawks hung with their archrival throughout and broke through late in the game.
“We needed that win, we needed the monkey off our back,” Ingles said. “And to come into this game against a good Daleville team and a rival, and to execute like we did down the stretch, hopefully this sends us on our way now and we can get more confident and get more wins.”
Both teams will next play in the Delaware County tournament, and both have byes into the semifinals, which will be held Friday at Delta.
Contact prep sports reporter Sam Wilson at (765) 213-5807. Follow him on Twitter @SamWilsonTSP.