Garner, defense and free throws lead Knights to two wins last week
Oak Creek now back at .500 (7-7)
Oak Creek - Behind Terrence Garner's steady all-around play and a commitment to defense that almost constitutes a blood oath, the boys basketball team pulled itself to .500 with a pair of impressive Southeast Conference wins last week.
The Knights downed Kenosha Indian Trail 57-41 last Friday, two days after edging a good Racine Horlick team, 43-34.
With the two victories, the Knights are now 4-3 in league play and 7-7 overall.
"We've really found our identity," said Oak Creek coach Mike Jossie. "We're not stylish by any means, but we've given ourselves a chance to win with it."
Oak Creek will host nonconference opponent Greenfield on Friday.
And though he loves the dedication of the team, Jossie knows that the Knights would be nowhere without 6-4 senior forward Terrence Garner, who leads the team with a 13.8-point and 11-rebound-a-game average.
"He's just been a horse for us all season," Jossie said. "He's playing so hard right now, and he's a remarkable young man. He's holding a 4.0 GPA for this semester and he's finally getting all the accolades that he deserves. It's just great to see him perform like this."
Garner had 21 points as the Knights pulled away from Trail in the second half of last Friday's game. It was only 19-18 in favor of the Knights at the half, but then they put on a strong run at the start of the third quarter and quickly pulled away to a 10-point lead.
The lead just kept growing, as Oak Creek was repeatedly put at the foul line. The Knights would hit 25 of 32 charity attempts on the evening as Alex Medenwalt, who also put in 20, downed an impressive 14 of 16 free throws.
"Our defense has been so consistent," Jossie said. "It's nothing in your face, but we get into the passing lanes and we contest the path to the basket. What helps is that we give up very few transition baskets."
The win was even more impressive in Jossie's eyes, as point guard Cordarius Johnson could not go because of an injury. He said that Cory Jackson and Harrison Cleary (10 points) filled in admirably. The team total was a season high for Oak Creek.
Against Horlick, the Knights nursed a 24-23 advantage into the fourth quarter but then pulled away from the Rebels. Again free throws played a big role as Oak Creek was 19 of 22 for the evening, including an impressive 10 of 10 for Medenwalt (10 points). Garner led the way with 17 points and Cleary came up with nine.
"In the fourth quarter we just stepped up to the line and knocked down the free throws," Jossie said. "Our defense was phenomenal. We gave up only two transition baskets to a team that was averaging over 60 points a game."
"This was our best win of the season."
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