TIPTON — Poor shooting over three quarters and 18 turnovers equaled the end of a five-game winning streak for the Tipton Cardinals.
The North Callaway Thunderbirds held off a furious comeback by the Cardinals on Friday night to win Tipton’s courtwarming game 54-53.
The Cardinals (13-5) shot 22 percent from the field over three quarters before making eight of 10 shots in the fourth.
“We had a horrible night shooting in the paint and at the free-throw line,” Tipton coach Billy Jeffries said. “You take those two things away, and we should win.”
Tipton went 5 for 23 from inside the arc over the first three quarters and 9 of 17 from the free-throw line overall.
Seven points by Justin Murphy, who scored a game-high 19, gave the Thunderbirds a 45-38 lead with 4:44 left in the game, but the Cardinals sank eight of 10 shots in the fourth.
The Cardinals climbed within two points (47-45) on Chaz Raymond’s 3-point play with 2:41 to go.
North Callaway (11-7) made 5 of 6 free throws over the next two minutes to push its lead back to five points.
Tipton had one more surge in the closing minute. Ethan Koechner hit a jumper with 31 seconds left. Tipton stole the Thunderbirds’ inbounds pass and Koechner scored to cut their lead to 52-51.
The Thunderbirds beat Tipton’s press on their ensuing possession with a full-court pass to Jacob Haubner under the basket to push the lead back to three.
The Cardinals attempted a 3-pointer right before the buzzer, but missed. Raymond grabbed the rebound and made the putback before the buzzer sounded.
North Callaway used its physical play to keep the Cardinals’ offense out of sync for three quarters.
“It’s hard because we don’t play anybody that’s as physical as they are,” Jeffries said. “We played last night (a 66-36 win over Stover) and we didn’t have time to prepare for them. It makes things difficult on us. We weren’t ready mentally to go. As physical as they were with us, it took awhile to adjust.”
The Cardinals used their fast break and 3-pointers by Dylan Cooper, who finished with 16 points including four 3s overall, and Wade Wood to take a 12-6 lead after one quarter.
Brett Metcalf came off the bench in the second to give the Thunderbirds a boost that allowed them to tie the score at 15 on a 3-pointer by Justin Menard.
Murphy added a pair of late 3-pointers to give the Thunderbirds a 23-21 halftime lead.
Travis Edwards’ fast-break basket, Cooper’s 3-pointer and Edwards’ putback gave the lead back to the Cardinals (28-27) briefly in the third quarter.
However, North Callaway went to work inside and built a 38-31 lead before Cooper made a 3 at the buzzer.
Lincoln at Tipton
7:30 p.m. Tuesday