Taft beats Foreman to win Red-North
BY MICHAEL WOJTYCHIW January 24, 2012
Taft’s first conference championship since 2001 didn’t come easily.
The Eagles beat visiting Foreman 41-38 to clinch the Red-North title. Taft (16-7 overall) and finished 8-1 in the league. Though Foreman (14-2, 7-1) could wind up with the same conference record, Taft holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Taylor Kuehn stepped to the free-throw line with Taft up 39-38 and 42.3 seconds left. He knocked two down two free throws to extend the Eagles’ lead to three. Foreman had a chance to tie with 22 seconds left but turned the ball over and then missed a tying three-pointer with under five seconds remaining.
“We were just playing great defense and making great defensive stops,” said Taft sophomore John Joyce. “We were looking to feed the post and we were looking to dominate the boards and get all the putbacks.’’
Foreman led most of the game. Taft went on a 9-1 run spanning 3:27 of the third and fourth quarters to stretch the cushion to go ahead 32-23. Joyce had five points in the run, while Tim Reamer had the other four.
Reamer’s layup and free throw gave the Eagles a 39-36 lead and Kuehn iced the game.
Reamer led Taft with 19 points, while Joyce added 14. Charles Thornton and Eric Patton had eight points apiece for Foreman.
“We wanted to go through Foreman. That’s the team to beat because they’re at the top and that’s what we want to become,’’ said Taft coach Brett Nishibayashi. “The big part about beating a team like that is handling pressure. Our guards haven’t seen that lately so it was good to see how they could handle it all.’’