ARCANUM – Arcanum was tied 43-43 with Milton-Union heading into the final stanza on Tuesday and held the Bulldogs to just 2 points over the last eight minutes to earn a 54-45 non-conference win.
It was Arcanum’s fifth win in the last six games, giving the Trojans an opportunity to get to .500 on the year with a win this Friday when they host Tri-County North on senior night.
The Trojans jumped ahead 8-0 to start the game on a triple from Evan Atchley plus two buckets at the rim, one from Carter Gray and the other from Grant Delk with a free throw on a foul.
Gray added a triple a few minutes later, and the Trojans held an 11-2 lead with 4:25 in the first quarter and looked like they might run away with it.
The Bulldogs came storming back, getting hot from the perimeter, and closed the gap to 14-11 at 2:01.
Delk added a fielder inside to bring the first quarter score to 16-11.
Wade Meeks’ 3-pointer at 4:57 in second quarter made the score 23-16. Arcanum then went quiet, allowing Milton to inch closer, 23-22.
Andrew Baker broke the drought at 2:22, but that was the end of the scoring in the first half for Arcanum while Milton added a score to bring the total to 25-24 at the break.
Daniel Albaugh of Milton-Union was doing a good job of face-guarding and shadowing Gray so Gray attacked the rim. He went 3-for-4 from the free throw line and scored 5 points in the third quarter.
Atchley scored 5 points and Delk 4 and the Trojans combined had 18, but defensively they gave up 19 to the Bulldogs, and the game was knotted at 43 heading into the final stanza.
The defense woke up in the last eight minutes, putting the clamps on the Bulldogs and holding them to just 2 points.
The Trojans scored 11 points, 7 of those at the free throw line, to close out the contest, 54-45.
“It wasn’t pretty at times tonight, but in the fourth quarter we finally were able to get out on shooters a little better and really played good defense,” Arcanum boys basketball coach Marcus Bixler said.
“We’re not shooting a high percentage, especially in the last three games, but we have gotten to the free throw lines 25 or more times in all of those games because we are aggressive trying to get the ball to the rim. We have to do a better job knocking down free throws. It’s important because not only do you score, it changes their plans because they have to deal with foul troubles,” Bixler said.
“Not too long ago we were sitting at 5-10 on the year so one of the things we talked about at the beginning of this week was the opportunity to get to .500. We got one of those tonight, and with a win Friday night we can finish the regular season on a 6-1 note to get to 11-11 and laying some of our best basketball heading into the postseason,” Bixler concluded.
Arcanum, which improved to 10-11 on the year, was led by Atchley with 15 points, Gray 14, Delk 11 and Meeks 9.
Score by quarters
MU … 11 … 13 … 19 … 02 – 45
AR … 16 … 09 … 18 … 11 – 54
Milton-Union – Lovin 4, Morris 3, Wintrow 18, Albaugh 14, Stone 4, Ullery 2;
Totals 2-17-3/8 – 43
Arcanum – Carter Gray 14, Wade Meeks 9, Evan Atchley 15, Andrew Baker 2, Grant Delk 11, Lane Byrne 3; Totals 3-14-17/27 – 54