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GOSHEN – North Oldham played with a better effort that pleased its coach Thursday night. But that still wasn’t enough for the Mustangs to overcome the best player on the floor.
Collins’ Ralphie Stone scored 24 points Thursday, including 10 in the fourth quarter, as the Titans beat North 59-50.
Stone lifted Collins (12-2), ranked No. 2 in Region 8 by the Courier-Journal, past the Mustangs (5-8) on a night when North, ranked No. 6 in the same poll, hung tight the first three quarters.
“I thought we played really well,” North coach Chris Stobaugh said. They’re a good ballclub and Ralphie Stone, we had our hands full with him.
“(Stone) was dominant for four straight quarters… Tonight we had to tip our hat to him. He was really good.”
The senior forward who scored 14 points over the first three quarters saved his best work for the fourth quarter.
He scored the first bucket of the final quarter, pushing the Collins lead to four, at 39-35.
North junior guard Chris Burton answered with a 3-pointer to trim the margin to 39-38. Chris Burton and his brother, senior guard Trevor Burton, finished with 10 points apiece.
The Titans kept feeding the ball to Stone, who kept getting to the foul line. He hit three free throws to make the score 42-38.
Then Stone made a nice move to the basket, getting fouled by North senior center Adam Klingeman on a made shot. He hit the ensuing free throw to complete the 3-point play and make the score 45-38.
“I don’t know if we’ve played a player better than Ralphie Stone,” Stobaugh said. “He was really good.”
A Deion Cochran 3-pointer stretched the lead to 10, at 48-38.
The closest North got from thereafter was when junior guard Jon Jon Henry cut the lead to seven in the final minute on a 4-point play. But once again Stone answered on the other end, pushing the lead to nine and closing off the Mustangs’ last hopes.
“They got a few open shots on the perimeter and then they started getting the momentum,” Henry said of the fourth quarter, in which Collins out-scored North 22-15. “They drew fouls, got some and-one’s, free throws.”
Henry led the Mustangs with 15 points. Collins guard Brent Kidwell complemented Stone, scoring 15 points.
Even with the loss Stobaugh was pleased with the effort the Mustangs showed. He’d criticized his players after North’s 66-42 loss to Iroquois Saturday for rebounding effort and a stagnant offense.
The Mustangs did better in those aspects of the game Thursday, Stobaugh said. He said he’d like to see that continue in North’s game at Eminence at 7:30 p.m. Friday and beyond.
“I told the guys after the game we’re making a lot of improvements,” Stobaugh said. “It’s unfortunate the kids don’t feel the success of the improvements we’re making.
“We’re just playing a lot of really good teams right now and our schedule’s going to soften at some point. Hopefully we’re still mentally into it when it does, because I think we can turn the corner and be really good.”
Collins – 14, 12, 11, 22 – 59
North Oldham – 6, 18, 11, 15 – 50
Collins – Stone 24, Kidwell 15, Cochran 7, Page 6, Vogel 5, Winstead 2
North Oldham – Henry 15, C. Burton 10, T. Burton 10, Cundiff 8, Klingeman 4, Hammock 3