Kapaun Mount Carmel boys coach Bernie Pearson thought his team might have an edge Friday night if it pushed the tempo against visiting East.
"We wanted to get some easy buckets and thought we had a little more depth," Pearson said.
Not a bad plan, considering East has lost two starters to injuries.
But East was ready for the press and made Kapaun pay in the final period, breaking it consistently as the Aces pulled away for a 73-64 victory.
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"The last time we played them, they showed us they wanted to be an up-tempo, pressure-type defensive team, so we practiced that all week," East coach Ron Allen said.
"The key (Friday) was in pressing us, we had to make them pay by taking the ball to the basket and attack the rim.... We got into the teeth of the defense, turned and ran."
With 1:59 to go and East leading 64-56, East beat the press and found Nathan Jackson in the lane for an easy basket. Less than a minute later, East beat the press again, with Jalen Carter finding Jackson for another easy shot and the 69-62 lead.
"The guy had to flash middle and that gives us an outlet to get to the middle and the wings to run the floor," said Jackson, who had nine rebounds and scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the final period. "We'd kick it to the wings and we got in our fastbreak offense. We finished at the rim every time.
"We're a fastbreak team and we were pretty efficient with it tonight."
"They finished," he said. "Jackson had 21 points and every time he shot the ball, I thought it would be short and it was all net. They just finished."
Kapaun was successful in the fourth quarter with its own offense, scoring 22 points. Michael Reynolds had 10 of his 16 points in the period, Keaton Lewis had six of his 11 in the fourth.
"I thought our defense kind of let us down a little bit tonight," Pearson said. "And the turnovers. But East hit a lot of shots."
East shot 47.6 percent from the field, while Kapaun shot 38.8 percent.
Kapaun's last lead came at 37-36 with 3:18 to go in the third. The Aces went on a 12-3 run late for a 48-40 lead before Kapaun got back within four points.
That was the story of the game's final period. East got up 56-46, then Kapaun got to within six. Up 66-56, Kapaun came within 67-52 on a Reynolds' basket with 1:11 to go.
East didn't allow another basket until 10 seconds remained and the game was out of reach.
"Every good team is going to make a run," Jackson said. "So if we can take a run — it's like a fight. You take a punch and the other will punch back. If you can take the punches and go right back at them, we're going to win the game."
East junior Ja'ln Williams finished with 14 points, while Jalen Love had 12, Carter had 11 and Dario Duque had nine.
Kapaun senior Dyllon Knox scored all 12 of his points in the first quarter.
East (13-5, 11-3) 11 17 20 25—73 Kapaun (10-8, 7-7) 10 15 17 22—64
EAST: Jackson 9 2-2 21, Melbert 1 0-0 2, Carter 5 1-2 11, Williams 7 0-0 14, Love 3 6-7 12, Reed 1 0-0 2, Samilton 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Griffin 1 0-1 2, Duque 3 2-2 9, Graham 0 0-0 0. Totals 30 (2) 11-14 73.
KAPAUN: Martin 3 2-4 8, Small 0 4-6 4, Reynolds 7 2-2 16, Knox 4 4-4 12, Lewis 4 2-2 11, Floyd 0 2-4 2, Laveist 0 0-0 0, Boswell 1 2-2 5, Knott 1 0-0 2, Washington 1 2-2 4, Cook 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 (2) 20-26 64.