KOUTS | Cody Nelson and Jacob Bekeyla came alive at the perfect time for Kouts on Friday night.
The duo, who combined for 26 first-half points but couldn’t get going in the third quarter, scored 14 of the Mustangs’ 16 points in the fourth quarter to help Kouts beat Washington Township 59-56 and remain unbeaten in Porter County Conference play.
“We went out and won the game,” Kouts coach Matt Crawford said. “We showed guts at the end. The kids gutted out a win.”
Nelson and Bekeyla keyed an 8-0 run late in the fourth quarter that gave the Mustangs a 53-47 lead.
“We talked about being poised, and we talked about having passion and playing with a purpose, and they did that at the end of the game,” Crawford said.
Nelson started the run with a driving layup that tied the game, then came away with a steal and fed Bekeyla in transition to put the Mustangs (9-1, 4-0) ahead for good.
Bekeyla pushed the lead to 51-47 with a drive to the basket, and Nelson capped the run with a driving layup with 1:45 to play.
Nelson finished with 23 points and Bekeyla had 20.
Alex Lowther, who scored a game-high 24 points for the Senators (7-4, 2-2), had a three-point play to get WT within 55-53 with 55 seconds left, but the Senators could not get any closer.
“We wanted to be there at the end, and we were,” Washington Township coach Scott Bowersock said. “We gave ourselves a shot to win the game.”
Brandon Adkins added 17 points for the Senators.
“Our guards rose to the challenge tonight and kept attacking and attacking,” Bowersock said.
The Mustangs, who shot 23-of-43 from the field, led by as many as 10 the first half. A 10-2 run from the Senators brought them within 35-33 with 4:37 left in the third. Cole Van Dyke immediate followed up with a three-point play for Kouts to boost the lead back up to five.
Washington Township took its second lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter after a 6-0 run to lead 47-45. Bryce Pappas scored on an inbounds play, and then Lowther and Alex Perez had baskets on back-to-back possessions.
Matt Stewart recorded eight blocks for the Mustangs.