By Dennis Weller
Special to The Mercury
UNION — When a 13-point run in the fourth quarter isn’t enough to catch up, you know you gave up way too many points in the first three quarters.
That’s what happened to Daniel Boone in Thursday night’s non-league boys basketball contest as visiting Wyomissing scored layup after layup on cuts and drives to the basket through the first three periods, and the Blazers could not quite overcome a 14-point deficit during the frenzied fourth quarter of a 59-55 setback.
Emmanuel Lacey scored 16 and Ken Worthington and Stevie Sievers added 12 each for Daniel Boone (6-9). Brock Kovach led the Spartans (9-5) with 14 points off the bench and Joe Cacchione followed with 13.
“We came out with no intensity,” said Boone coach Ian Gendreau. “The last three games against Reading, (Conrad) Weiser and Wilson, we came out and played really hard defense against all three. We didn’t have anywhere near as much intensity in the first half tonight. A good team like that will chew up half-hearted defense.”
The Blazers were able to keep up with, even stay ahead of, the Spartans for a while as Lacey knocked down three of four shots from the floor early for seven points, and a basket off a drive by Worthington late in the opening quarter gave Boone its largest lead of the night at 15-9.
But Wyomissing went on a 17-4 splurge from there until midway through the second quarter, and led by as many as eight until Lacey dropped in a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to cut Boone’s deficit to 34-29.
“To go in at halftime down after scoring more than you usually score is not the way you want to be playing,” said Gendreau.
Things got worse before they got better for the Blazers after Stephon Williams hit a jumper to start the second half to slice the difference to just three, and Sievers scored on a short shot in the lane to make it 36-33. The Spartans went on a nine-point run from there, opened the lead to 12 by the end of the third quarter, and led by a 54-40 score after Kovach scored off a fast break with 5-1/2 minutes to go.
But Boone started to pressure the visitors all over the court and roared back. Worthington made two from the line, Sievers drilled a three-pointer from the left corner, and Xavier Smith popped in a short baseline jumper to cut the deficit in half.
Then Williams scored on the break and was fouled and made the free throw and Sievers hit a three-pointer from the right wing off a pass from Worthington to narrow the gap to 54-53 with 2:30 to go.
But Gerald Burns hit both ends of a one-and-one for the Spartans, the Blazers turned the ball over, and Burns scored a basket on a strange play when his shot was deflected, but banked in off his own shoulder for a 58-53 margin with 1:10 left.
Lacey got Boone to within range on a jumper with 16 seconds remaining, but Cacchione made the second of two from the line with eight ticks to go to boost the lead to four.
By the end, it appeared the Blazers’ determined rally had taken its physical toll on the Spartans, who shot just 3-for-10 from the line down the stretch and turned the ball over five times.
“That was part of the game plan,” said Gendreau. “It wasn’t supposed to take quite that long. Our intensity definitely went up and we finally started sharing the ball a little more. But once you dig yourself a 14-point hole, it’s tough to come back.”
While the Blazers’ chances of making the District 3-AAA playoffs were already slim before the loss, they still can make it to the Berks County playoffs with a good finish.
“Right now our focus is on (county playoffs),” said Gendreau. “We’ve got to get (tonight’s) game against Muhlenberg. We feel if we can win a few of our games and finish in the top four in the division, there’s a real possibility four teams can come out of Division I.”
Lacey scored 14 of his points in the first half on 6-for-9 shooting. … Lacey and Dan Downs each grabbed six boards as the Blazers held a 32-27 rebounding advantage. … Wyomissing shot 54 percent from the floor through the first three quarters and wound up at an even 50 percent (24-for-48), while the Blazers shot 44 percent (23-for-52).