COAL CITY – Seneca shot 12 for 45 overall and 6 for 28 from 3-point land during a loss to Coal City in the Interstate Eight Conference boys basketball tournament in late January.
The Fighting Irish attempted only eight 3s Friday night, making two. Instead, they stuck to a diet consisting largely of layups, going 22 for 38 from the field in a 56-39 victory on Coaches vs. Cancer Night that kept them unbeaten in I-8 regular-season play.
“We took 28 3s the first game. That’s way too many,” Seneca coach Russell Witte said. “And the majority of them were not off of paint touches, which means we want the ball to go inside first and kick out. On film last Wednesday, we scored on 70 percent of our paint touches.”
Another key for Seneca was holding 2013 Morris Daily Herald Player of the Year Nick Peters in check. Peters did not attempt a shot during the first quarter. He had missed three before scoring for the first time on a putback with 1:21 left in the first half. Peters had an impact in the first half, totaling eight rebounds, two assists and a block, but Brennen Shetina shouldered the scoring load with 10 points.
Nobody from Seneca had that many, but eight first-half points off the bench from Ben Barnett and six points, three rebounds and three assists from Austin Applebee helped the Irish lead, 27-21, at halftime. The Irish then scored nine of the first 12 points in the third quarter, with a 3-pointer and a driving basket from Conlan Callahan keying the run, and their lead stayed in double digits the rest of the way.
“We were extremely slow rotating on defense,” Coal City coach Brad Boresi said. “We weren’t taking away the next pass. You’re playing a zone defense, your No. 1 priority is taking away the middle. We didn’t do a very good job of taking away the middle.”
Applebee led the three Seneca players in double figures with 15 points, with Barnett contributing 13 and Callahan had 11 to which he added nine rebounds. Seneca overcame playing without starting guard Carter Gallick, who was absent because of a family matter.
Shetina scored 15 points and Peters finished with 10 points, 13 rebounds and four assists for Coal City.