MONROE — "Good teams find a way to win," said Adams Central coach Aaron McClure just seconds after Tuesday's 40-36 grinder that outlasted Blackford.
Last Friday, in an emotional win over AC's oldest rival (South Adams), the Flying Jets connected for 30 points in the first quarter.
Last night, the Jets didn't hit 30 until 1:47 of the fourth quarter and the game wasn't decided until less than 12 seconds remained. The halftime score was 18-13 and after three periods, it was just 21-18.
The Jets (13-6) led 2-0 and didn't lead again until 25-23 at five minutes of the fourth period when Maverick Baumer buried a three. One reason AC did not look good was that the team was two for 17 (11.7%) in three-point shots, although the 8-10 Bruins went only one for six long-range for 16.6%.
McClure described the Blackford 2-3 zone as "really solid" and said the Jets couldn't get going outside to pull the Bruins out of ot, so they started to work inside and "got some shots to go down" in the fourth quarter: a 12-footer by Ben Snider (his only points) and a baseline six-footer by Baumer that led to a free throw.
Those two plays moved the Jets to a 30-25 lead, then the home team polished off the visitors with foul shots: in the final quarter, AC bagged 11 of 15 at the line (73.3%) versus Blackford's seven of 11 (63.6%).
Dalton Combs made five of six in the final FT surge as he ended with 11 points, including seven of eight at the stripe.
Baumer had a game-high 19, including five for five at the line and two identical dunks on alley-oop passes by Nathan Busse: one in the first quarter and one in the second. Baumer had a third slam in the fourth quarter.
Blackford had one player in dual digits: 6-4 senior Franklin Crist, who had 16 points (eight for nine FTs), eight rebounds, and two blocks. Despite the 16 points, McClure said he liked the defensive effort against Crist by Snider.
The coach further said Kam Fiechter and Blaze Brooks made some good contributions.
A major problem for the Jets in the first half, said Coach M, was not enough possessions and not enough push of the ball down the floor. AC had more possessions in the second half and that helped, especially as Blackford fouled.
This Friday will be the final game of the regular season as AC hosts a good New Haven team in the last tune-up before facing Indiana's defending two-time Class 2A champions from Bishop Luers a week later in the sectional at the Stardome in Berne.