KOUTS | For Kouts on Friday night, the weave was the key.
Kouts led wire-to-wire in a 58-45 Porter County Conference win over Hebron, using an effective and efficient three-man weave to break the Hawks’ full-court press and take advantage of easy buckets at the other end.
It’s something the Mustangs work on every day in practice.
“I thought Hebron did a great job of getting after us,” Kouts coach Matt Crawford said. “They pressured us hard. They attacked us, and it was all about getting the ball across half-court and getting into our offense. That (three-man weave) is one of the main things we do. We use that up top and to get into the lane, play off our bigs and get some easy layups as well as kick outs.”
Cody Nelson scored 20 points for the Mustangs.
“When you have 20 (points), what more can you say? Words don’t do it justice,” Crawford said. “He was able to get into the lane, and that’s what we want."
Nelson missed most of the fourth quarter with foul trouble, but Kouts managed to outscore Hebron 9-8 in a sloppy closing stanza.
“It’s all about next man up,” Crawford said. “You come in and you do what you’ve got to do. That’s why you practice every day, so you know what you have to do when people are out.”
The Hawks' Tony Rose led all scorers with 23 points.
Hebron recovered from an early deficit to cut the lead to 19-17 early in the second quarter, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Jacob Bekeyla and Nelson started a 13-4 run for the Mustangs. Kouts led 32-21 at halftime.
In the second half, the Mustangs hovered around a 10-point lead and began to run away in the fourth quarter. A pair of free throws by Bekeyla gave Kouts a 57-42 lead with just over a minute and a half to play. The senior guard had 15 points and three assists.
The Mustangs recorded seven steals and two blocks as a team, a defensive effort that Crawford enjoyed.
“We got three or four stops there at the end of the second quarter to rebuild the lead, and I thought that was huge for us,” Crawford said. “We always talk about how many stops in a row we can get. That’s where it started. Our defense enabled us to get out and do some things offensively.”