MILTON FREEWATER - Mac-Hi's boys basketball team picked up its second win of the season in a frantic 48-36, turnover-laden home contest versus DeSales Tuesday.
The Pioneers forced 29 turnovers, including several down the stretch of what was a close battle throughout.
"We're still trying to mesh as a group," said Mac-Hi head coach Sean Oliver. "This was the kind of win that defines what kind of team we are. We scrapped, and we worked really hard on defense. It was a struggle, but we rose to the challenge."
Mac-Hi opened the game by locking down on an Irish (2-1) offense that struggled to find its shot, while building an 11-4 lead through the opening eight minutes behind a pair of 3s from senior forward Ricky Angel.
"We just made too many lazy passes," said DeSales head coach Allyn Griffin. "That's what got us more than anything. We didn't execute like we need to if we want to win basketball games against teams like the one we played tonight."
The Irish battled back to even the score at 16 on a trifecta from Joe Solomon, who finished the night with five points, trailing only the 10 posted by Lucas Fazzari on the DeSales squad, and the score remained tied at the break, 18-all.
However, the Irish were never able to grab hold of the lead, and Mac-Hi (2-4) rushed out to a 28-22 edge at the 2:14 mark of the third quarter when Derek Richwine nailed a baseline runner.
"No one on this team gave up at any point," Oliver said. "As we continue to build and grow into this season, tonight is an example of the focus we can bring into big games."
Mac-Hi expanded its lead to 44-35 with three straight buckets before the midway point of the fourth quarter, but both teams' offenses went cold from there in what turned into a turnover-filled final stretch that saw neither team score for three minutes.
For the night, the teams combined for 54 turnovers.
"We made too many mistakes tonight," Griffin said. "It's that simple. You can't make the mistakes we made and expect to walk away with a win on the road. It doesn't work like that. Still, we're gonna watch this film, and we'll have more to build upon. Losing is tough, but we're going to work on the positives we saw out there tonight."
The Pioneers were able to close the game out at the stripe in the closing moment thanks to solid work from Jesse Field at the line for the 12-point win.
Mac-Hi was led by 15 points from Ricky Angel, who drained three trey balls.
"Angel just keeps coming up with big shots for us," Oliver said. "If things keep going like this we might have to start calling him our Mr. Big Shot."
There is little time for DeSales to rest as the Irish dive into league play on Friday against Tri-Cities Prep, while Mac-Hi is slated to take on Riverside on the road Saturday.
"It's a nice night for us, but it's the time of year where you take these games as ways to improve, even when you win," Oliver said. "I think you could see that tonight we showed that we can kind of kick into an auto pilot mode that keeps our effort at a very high level and compete four quarters."
Mac-Hi 48, DeSales 36
DESALES (36) - Gregg 0-3 1-2 1, Donnelly 0-1 0-0 0, Fazzari 4-9 0-0 10, Williams 1-5 2-6 4, Solomon 2-4 0-0 5, Mata 4-16 0-0 9, Cordeiro 0-4 3-8 3, Elmenhurst 0-0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 0-0 0-0 0, Leahy 0-2 0-2, Wales 1-2 2-4 4. Totals 12-46 8-22 36.
MAC-HI (48) - S. Ortiz 1-4 0-0 2, Sandoval 1-1 0-0 2, Field 1-7 4-6 6, A. Oritz 0-3 3-4 3, Corona 2-3 2-2 6, Flores 0-0 0-0 0, Richwine 2-5 1-4 5. Angel 6-8 0-0 15, Hadden 3-9 3-4 9. Totals 16-40 13-20 48.
DeSales 4 14 9 9 - 36
Mac-Hi 11 7 14 16 - 48
3-point goals - DeS 4-15 (Gregg 0-2, Fazzari 2-5, Williams 0-1, Solomon 1-1, Mata 1-6), Mac-Hi 3-4 (S. Ortiz 0-1 Angel 3-3). Total fouls- DeS 17, Mac-Hi 16. Fouled out- None. Technical fouls- DeS 1, Mac-Hi 1. Rebounds- DeS 36 (Mata 10 ), Mac-Hi 31 (Angel 6). Turnovers- DeS 29, Mac-Hi 25. Assists- DeS 4 (Solomon 2), Mac-Hi 10 (Field 4).