Brownsville shoots down Charleroi, 67-51

| Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 12:31 a.m.

With first place in Section 5 AA on the line, four players recorded double-digit points Wednesday as host Brownsville handed the Charleroi its first section loss of the season, 67-51.

The Cougars (5-4, 3-1) played the Falcons (5-4, 4-0) even for most of the game, but Charleroi's six-point second quarter helped Brownsville take a 12-point lead into halftime.

“We didn't play well,” Charleroi coach Bill Wiltz said. “I'm not sure why. Maybe the long layoff, I don't know. But I'm not going to make excuses; I refuse to make excuses. We simply should have played better.”

Wiltz lamented his team's performance in the costly second quarter.

“That second quarter, that's where we went cold and let them go on a run and we couldn't gain any momentum back at all,” Wiltz said. “There was a little stretch there at the end of the third, beginning of the fourth quarter where we took it from 18 down to 10 or 11 and we thought with a little bit of momentum on our side we would be able to do things a bit better, but things didn't work out. They hit a couple of threes and stole the momentum right back from us.”

Charleroi's John Arnold came off the bench to lead the Cougars in scoring with 18 points. The 6-7 sophomore dominated the paint when in the game. When he wasn't, Brownsville's 6-5 Nick Despot controlled the inside while brothers Cole and Ryan Novotny continually drove the lane for easy layups.

“He's only a sophomore and we are trying to bring him along slow,” Wiltz said of Arnold. “He tends to foul, so we don't give him as many minutes as he deserves because we are trying to protect him. But he is certainly fun to watch.”

Cole Novotny scored a game-high 23 points, with Despot going for 13 and Ryan Novotny and Carl Dellapenna each added 11.

Ryan Konek joined Arnold in double figures for the Cougars, recording 10 points. Charleroi's Brandon Bowman and Evan Anderson added seven and six points, respectively..

“They are a tough team to defend,” Wiltz said. “They have a decent inside game, some good three point shooters. Our game plan was to go with the zone and see if we could force some outside shots but they hit them. And we were so cold offensively, we thought we needed to use our defense to spark our offense, get some steals, some turnovers and turn it into points, but they are pretty quick and we weren't able to do that. They have a nice team.”

Cole Novotny sank four threes, compared to an ice-cold performance from the Cougars that saw them make only one 3-pointer the whole game.

“That's been our nemesis all year,” Wiltz said. “We haven't shot well from the outside. Without John Arnold in the lineup tonight, who knows how many points we would have scored. But we just have to regroup after tonight. It's not the end of the world.

“We're going back in the gym tomorrow and we're not going to stick our heads where the sun don't shine. We're going to keep going at it, keep improving. We have a long way to go; it's a long season. They still have to come to our place.”

Donnie Tasser is a freelance writer.

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