Amherst Comets go cold in fourth, fall to Midpark Meteors

AMHERST — For three quarters, Amherst was playing its style of basketball.

Unfortunately for the host Comets, their shooting went cold in the fourth quarter as Midpark pulled away for a 49-35 Southwestern Conference win on Friday.

“We were playing team basketball at both ends of the floor in the third quarter,” Amherst Coach John Srnis said. “We got away from it and started playing more individually than as a team. For us to be successful, we can’t play like that.”

Amherst (10-10, 4-9) managed to keep the Meteors (13-7, 7-6) within arms’ length, trailing 20-13 at the half. An offensive flurry helped the Comets erase the deficit in a hurry in the third quarter.

Nick Glowacki and Garrett Klekota knocked down back-to-back 3s to trim Midpark’s lead down to one. An Eric Lamb baseline jumper gave Amherst its first lead of the night and the first of eight lead changes in the quarter.

Midpark sophomore Nolan Gerrity, who stands 6-foot-9, scored three-straight baskets. Lamb, who tied for team-high honors with 11 points, also had three baskets in the quarter.

With the teams trading baskets and fighting for momentum, the level of physical play increased. After a three by the Meteors Mark Lombardo, Klekota hit a driving layup to tie the game at 29.

Continuing the pace from the third quarter, each team knocked down a three. After Michael Schuller hit his second-straight 3, the Comets couldn’t capitalize. While the defense continue to play hard and forced three-straight turnovers, the offensive end struggled.

“Amherst was extending its 2-12 zone defense,” Midpark Coach Duke Barther said. “They were covering out wings. He (Schuller) is a good player and to hit both shots gave us some confidence we could score against their defense.”

While Midpark started to solve the Comets’ defense, they did a little switching of their own defensively in the fourth quarter. The result was a triangle and two.

Amherst missed three straight shots only to be followed by Midpark’s Christian Calton draining a three. Still in it, the Comets missed opportunities to close the deficit.

“We missed a ton of layups,” Srnis said. “We got good looks, but I bet we missed at least six (layups). I know they have 6-9 (Gerrity) back there, but when we got our open looks he usually wasn’t in the play.”

Gerrity was a force to be reckoned with on both ends. He led Midpark with 14 points, while recording four blocks and snagging 13 rebounds.

The combination of the physical play and the missed opportunities offensively started a snowball effect. Amherst’s struggles from the field ended when Lamb hitting a three late in the quarter. By then, Midpark had built up a 15-point with six free throws. For the quarter, the Comets were held to just two field goals.

“We stopped doing what we did in the third quarter,” Klekota said. “We were able to get some open looks against their zone defense, but we didn’t make them.”

Klekota (team-high 11 points) spent almost the entire game with someone face-guarding him. Along with Adam Srnis, the duo spent a fair amount of time fighting to get open just to get the ball. The toughness exhibited by Midpark is something which has come about recently.

“For the last two weeks, the guys have been playing very tough physically and mentally,” Barther said. “Things like being stronger with the ball are one of the areas which has helped us.”

Amherst looks to get back on track, hosting Bay next Tuesday.

Midpark 49, Amherst 35

Southwestern Conference

MIDPARK — Dylan Nguyen 1-0 2, Doug Verbofsky 1-1 3, Nolan Gerrity 7-0 14, Christian Calton 3-4 13, Michael Schuller 2-4 10, Mark Lombardo 2-2 7. TOTALS 16-11 49.

AMHERST — Eric Lamb, 5-0 11, Garrett Klekota 5-0 11, Adam Srnis 1-2 5, Nick Glowacki 2-0 6, Guy Schuler 0-1 1. TOTALS 13-4 35.

3-POINT GOALS — M: Schuller (2), Lombardo, Calton (3); A: Klekota, Lamb, Glowacki (2), Srnis.

Score By Quarters

Midpark (13-8, 7-6) 12 8 9 20 — 49

Amherst (10-10, 4-9) 7 6 16 6 — 54

Team Statistics

Field Goals — Midpark 16 of 36 (44 percent), Amherst 13 of 54 (24 percent).

Free Throws — M 11 of 15 (73 percent), A 4 of 7 (57 percent).

Rebounds — M 35 (Gerrity 13), A 35 (Lamb 6).

Turnovers — M 11, A 3.

J.V. — Midpark, 40-25.

@MJournalSports

Last Updated: 2/15/2013 11:43:17 PM EST

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