Boys basketball: Braun powers Fenwick past Badin

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Fenwick boys basketball coach Kelven Moss had a not-so-subtle reminder for his Falcons just before the National Anthem for their Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division game on Friday against arch-rival Badin.

“I told them, ‘Hey, guys, I haven’t won in a month,” Moss revealed

Well, not quite. Actually, Fenwick won, 46-44, at La Salle on New Year’s Eve before suffering three straight losses, seeing two games postponed and another flat-out cancelled.

A.J. Braun and the Falcons got the point. The 6-foot-10 Braun scored nine of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as Fenwick (7-4, 4-2) broke open a close game and led by as many as 14 before settling for a 50-44 win.

Braun credited the press Fenwick unveiled after halftime for wearing down the Rams and giving openings.

“You could definitely tell they were getting tired and I wanted to take advantage of it,” said the senior center, who went 9-for-13 from the field.

“Badin wasn’t doubling him,” Moss pointed out. “We try to feed him every time down the floor.”

The Falcons almost had to play the game with a decimated roster. One player was ill and three more didn’t show up until 45 minutes before the scheduled tipoff after getting back from a retreat. That created an opportunity for junior guard Nathan Beatty, who matched the total number of points he’d scored all season with nine against Badin, all on 3-pointers.

The Falcons derived motivation from their 55-45 loss at Badin on Dec. 11, Braun said.

“That first game, we weren’t ready,” he said. “This time, we wanted to be aggressive.”

Fenwick also was motivated by what it feels is a real shot at capturing the GCL Co-Ed title. The Falcons are third behind 11-2 and 8-1 McNicholas and 7-4 and 4-1 Roger Bacon going into their game last-place Purcell Marian on Saturday. They still have two games against McNicholas, including one Tuesday on the road.

“Tonight was a big step in the right direction,” Moss said. “We told them, ‘If you want to be GCL champs, we have to win out.’ It’s in our hands.”

Senior guard Andrew Larkin scored 16 points to lead Badin (7-10, 3-7), which is scheduled to face Roger Bacon on Saturday in the first of back-to-back home games. The Rams also are due to meet Carroll on Tuesday as part of what coach Gerry Weisgerber considers to be a grueling stretch drive.

“We don’t have an easy one,” he said. “Our last 8-10 games are all against what I consider to be district (championship)-caliber teams. It’s a tough string. Hopefully, we’ll learn from it.”

Larkin scored seven points for Badin while Richards was scoring seven for the Falcons in a first quarter that ended in a 9-9 tie.  Senior guard A.J. Enginger sank a 3-pointer from the left corner and senior forward Jayden Carter converted a traditional three-point play during an 8-2 Rams run that helped them take a 24-19 lead into halftime.

“Because of the layoff, we had a hard time finding a flow,” Moss said. “We had to calm them down a little bit.”

The Falcons used their press to speed up the pace in the second half. They took the lead for good at 31-30 on senior forward Carter Earls’s jumper from the left baseline with 2:19 left in the third quarter.

“We saw on film that couldn’t handle the pressure,” Moss said. “That was in our back pocket. They like to play a halfcourt game. We wanted to turn it into a track meet.”

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