By SHANNON DOVE
ARCADIA — Peter Campbell isn’t known as St. Wendelin’s most prolific rebounder, but he grabbed the team’s most critical board Saturday night.
With the Mohawks up three points and just seconds left on the clock, the 5-foot-9 Campbell outmuscled taller and heavier players to grab the rebound on a missed Arcadia 3-pointer and protected the ball as the last 1.5 seconds ticked off the clock to preserve a 43-40 win in a nonleague game.
“We just didn’t execute down the stretch like we should,” Redskins coach Cara Noel said. “We’re better — we should come off the screens harder. There’s a lot of little things you need to do, and little things in a close game is what wins or loses it, and we didn’t do the little things right tonight.”
St. Wendelin coach Jim Rutter was happy with the way his team “rebounded” from a 76-54 loss at Fremont St. Joseph Friday night.
“We did a nice job of handling the basketball better; we just have to become more consistent,” Rutter said. “It seems like we go in spurts: One game we’ll execute OK and the next game it’s like we forgot everything we did before. We executed a lot better down the stretch.
“The kids tonight were ready to go. Mentally, they were focused in.”
With the score deadlocked 30-30 after three periods, the game came down to the final eight minutes. Josh Ireland drew first blood for Arcadia, but Nick Root’s trey put the Mohawks up 33-32 with 6:38 remaining. Shae Watkins’ layup put the Redskins in front once again, but Gabe Walters’ 3-point play gave the Mohawks the 36-34 edge with 5:59 left.
Arcadia overtook St. Wendelin once again when Hayden Ramsey’s 3-pointer gave his team a 37-36 edge, but after each team had a defensive stop, Campbell drained one from behind the arc for a 39-37 Mohawks lead with 3:55 left to play.
A minute later, Ireland canned a 3-pointer to put the Redskins up 40-39. Then, with with 2:11 on the clock and Arcadia in possession, Noel called timeout.
But the turned the ball over on the ensuing inbound. The Mohawks went the other way on the fast break and Campbell pulled up for a long jumper before Arcadia’s defense could get set, putting St. Wendelin ahead for good 41-40 with 1:59 remaining.
Watkins had a chance to regain the lead on Arcadia’s next possession but was called for charging on his drive to the hoop.
Later, with 30 seconds remaining, the teams traded turnovers as Walters intercepted a pass on the perimeter but then turned it back over himself.
Root hit a pair of free throws for a little insurance when Watkins fouled out with 6 seconds left.
“Tonight was a lot better job of doing things better on help defense and a little bit better job of rebounding,” Rutter said. “They’ve got some big kids over there. We hung in there pretty well.”
St. Wendelin led 26-20 at halftime but came out of the locker room cold. After an early 3-pointer by Campbell pushed the score to 29-22, the Redskins put together an 8-0 run, culminating in a Ramsey layup that gave the Redskins a 30-29 lead — their first since early in the second quarter. Donovan Scudder tied it at 30 with a free throw in the final minute.
“They’ve got some shooters out there,” Rutter said of Arcadia. “Ramsey can really shoot it and Ireland can shoot it.
“In the third quarter there, we let (Arcadia) feel a little bit more comfortable shooting the basketball. We kept telling them ‘It doesn’t matter whether it’s man or zone, you’ve got to know where the shooters are.’ A couple of times we lost track of where the shooters were.”
Walters paced the Mohawks with a game-high 16 points and eight rebounds. Campbell and Root scored 13 and 11 points, respectively, and each had two steals.
Brady Rutter led St. Wendelin with three steals and Root passed for three assists.
Ramsey led Arcadia with 15 points, six boards and four steals, while Ireland chipped in 13 points, matched Ramsey’s six rebounds and made three steals. Dylan Conine added three assists.
“It comes down to one possession, a missed foul shot here, a turnover there, not getting the defensive rebound,” Noel said. “I mean, it’s one possession. You go back through from the tip to the final buzzer, you’ve got to find that one possession. In close games, the ball is gold and you’ve got to take care of it.”
Arcadia won the junior varsity game 34-28, led by Clint Recker’s 13-point effort.
Joel Lopez paced the Mohawks with 10 points.
ST. WENDELIN (43)
Walters 7-2–16, Campbell 5-0–13, Root 3-3–11, Scudder 0-3–3, Frankart 0-0–0, Rutter 0-0–0, Murray 0-0–0, Schetter 0-0–0. TOTALS: 15-43 8-17 — 43.
Ramsey 6-1–15, Ireland 6-1–14, Baker 2-1–5, Kieffer 1-1–3, Watkins 1-0–2, Keefe 0-1–1, Pessell 0-0–0, Reamer 0-0–0, Conine 0-0–0. TOTALS: 16-43 5-12 — 40.
St. Wendelin 13 13 4 13 — 43
Arcadia 9 11 10 10 — 40
3-Point GOALS: St. Wendelin 5-15 (Campbell 3, Root 2); Arcadia 3-18 (Ramsey 2, Ireland).
rebounds: St. Wendelin 27 (Walters 10); Arcadia 30 (Watkins 8).
turnovers: St. Wendelin 15; Arcadia 15.
JUNIOR VARSITY: Arcadia, 34-28.