By BRYAN GASKINS
Taylor’s boys basketball team played with a sense of purpose in the fourth quarter of its game against Mississinewa on Saturday night at Center Court — but a 17-point deficit after three quarters proved too deep a hole from which to climb out.
Mississinewa held on to beat Taylor 62-57, dropping the Titans to 2-9.
The Titans outscored the Indians 31-19 in the fourth quarter to make things interesting. Latrell Mitchell scored 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting in the quarter and Logan Barnes hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored nine points.
“I told the team that if we would play with that kind of energy for four quarters, it would be amazing what we could accomplish,” Taylor coach Andy Lewman said. “I think we were 13 of 18 from the floor in the fourth quarter. We made some good things happen and Latrell was on fire.”
The Titans’ downfall was the second quarter.
The first quarter featured five lead changes and two ties, including 9-all at the end. Ole Miss then opened the second quarter with an 11-0 run en route to a 33-17 halftime advantage.
In the second quarter, the Titans made just 3 of 9 shots from the field and committed eight turnovers. The Titans played without point guard Justin Wheeler, who was injured in Friday night’s game against Hamilton Heights.
“We were making silly mistakes in the second quarter,” Lewman lamented. “The turnover bug has been getting us and it hit us again [Saturday] and it put us in a heck of a hole, down 16 at the half.”
Ole Miss (4-6) maintained a comfortable lead throughout the third quarter and was up 43-26 at the end of the quarter.
The Titans came to life in the final quarter. They used an 11-3 run to draw within nine, 46-37, at 5:21.
The Indians still seemed in control up 52-41 at 3:00 — but Mitchell scored on a putback, then took a charge, and Cole Schroeder hit a 3-pointer to bring Taylor within six, 52-46, at 2:27.
Down 59-52 as the clock ticked under a minute, the Titans had three shots to draw closer, but were unable to connect. The Indians followed with a pair of free throws at :33.6 for a 61-52 lead, effectively sealing the win.
“To battle back within a couple of possessions is great, but I’d like to play from the lead at some point this season,” Lewman said. “I feel like we’re always playing from behind and I want to play with the lead at some point and see whether or not we can push it to the next level.”
Mitchell took his game to a higher level Saturday night. The 6-foot junior forward came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field. He buried several baseline jumpers.
“He played with a sense of purpose,” Lewman said. “I felt like he played very well the whole night.”
Barnes finished with 13 points and Challen Hodson had 14 points for the Titans. Nick Hoover had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Seth McPheron led the Indians with 15 points. Zeke Lockwood had 12 points and seven rebounds.