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By Jim Manion | Correspondent
It only takes a blink of the eye for the Windham Bombers to turn a close game into a relaxing win. The Bombers scored seven points in 12 seconds Tuesday night at Crestwood to turn a one-point lead into what would become their sixth win in a row.
The Bombers (13-1) went on to score 32 fourth-quarter points and claim a 76-62 Portage Trail Conference cross-division win over the Red Devils (6-8).
Crestwood committed 27 turnovers in the contest, with 19 of those being credited as steals by the Bombers in one of their best defensive floor games. Parker Rickey and Matt Knight each had five thefts, while Cameron Pozsgai had four steals.
With 6:31 left on the game clock, veteran Windham coach Marty Hill called a timeout with his team leading by only a point, 50-49.
"I decided to go to our full-court pressure," said Hill. "We had been in foul trouble and our bench had kept us in the game, but I knew we had to turn up the pressure and we had the five guys on the floor we wanted."
Windham came out of the timeout and scored seven points in the blink of an eye, forcing Crestwood coach Al Mielcarek to call timeout with four minutes left in the contest. The scoring came when Rickey literally hit Pozsgai with a perfect pass that bounced off his chest, and he converted and was fouled. After making the free throw, Knight stole the inbounds pass and scored, then Rickey did the same for a 57-49 lead.
After the Crestwood timeout, Stephen Kacenski hit Rickey with a perfect assist, then Knight scored another fastbreak basket off a Rickey steal to complete an 11-0 run for a 61-49 lead, which all but closed the door on the Red Devils.
"We had some kids that missed their assignments coming out of that timeout, and you can't do that against a team like Windham," said Mielcarek. "Especially when you're playing a team well-coached like that."
Crestwood took a 4-2 lead early in the contest before Pozsgai hit the first 3-pointer of the night for Windham at the six-minute mark, leading a charge of nine straight Bombers points for a 13-4 advantage. The Red Devils committed seven straight turnovers that aided in the Bombers run. Pozsgai had three consecutive steals, a blocked shot that was converted to points and three rebounds in the first-quarter assault.
The Red Devils, however, played strong in the final two minutes of the quarter. Aided by five Bombers turnovers, Crestwood came back to only trail 15-14 at the first buzzer.
"We had a nice run in the first quarter, but then we turned the ball over about five times after we got that lead," said Hill. "We did a much better job in the second half and didn't have many turnovers."
Knight scored three straight fastbreak baskets to open the second quarter for Windham, and Rickey hit a 3 to help the Bombers push the lead to 31-24 at the half despite the fact that Crestwood controlled the boards with a 16-9 advantage.
The Red Devils opened the second half by scoring eight straight points, taking their first lead since 4-2. Jimmy Quesenberry hit a pair of free throws and a basket, while Trevor Sweet went inside for a pair of buckets and the 32-31 lead.
The contest turned into a basket-for-basket exchange in the remainder of the quarter, but Crestwood took a 46-44 lead when Jacob Klock hit a pair of 3s and Graves cashed in on a deep 3-pointer from the corner.
The team traded baskets to start the final quarter before Windham went on its run to close out the game.
Knight led all scorers with 21 points, while Pozsgai had 20 and Rickey had 16 for the Bombers.
Jacob Graves led Crestwood with 15 points, while Trevor Sweet had 14, Jacob Klock had 12 and Jimmy Quesenberry finished with 11. The Red Devils outrebounded Windham on the night 31-18, as Quesenberry led the way with seven while Graves and Sweet both pulled down six.