Fearing he might make an early exit, Clayton Garrison instead played almost all of the fourth quarter with four fouls and led Chadwick to a 48-42 win Monday against Aurora.
Garrison capped his 30-point performance at the Clever Invite by scoring eight points over the final eight minutes. He thrived, even after being whistled for his fourth foul at the 7:47 mark of the fourth quarter.
"I was scared I was going to pick up that fifth foul,” Garrison said. “I knew I had to play smart.”
The junior forward recalled a game last season in which he picked up his fourth foul at a similar juncture.
“I did pick up my fifth foul in that game. It was fast, two minutes after (his fourth foul),” Garrison said. “That's where I’ve learned. I knew I needed to take a step back a little bit.”
In particular, Garrison wasn’t able to drive to the bucket with the same aggression he had earlier.
“I knew they were calling charges and (Aurora was) going to take a charge against me,” he said. “I had to shift around and make my own lanes.”
The only close call Garrison had came on an offensive rebound midway through the fourth quarter. There were a few fans of the ‘Houn Dawgs who yelled for an over-the-back foul.
“I thought they were going to call it because they called one on me (earlier),” Garrison said.
Chadwick coach Shawn Guerin showed trust in Garrison by keeping him on the floor with four fouls. Garrison had three fouls in the first half.
“I rolled the dice,” Guerin said. “We talked at halftime and I said I was going to sit him at the first (of the second half). He didn't like that idea and I didn't like the idea of him sitting, either. We gambled again in the fourth quarter. He did a good job, stayed smart and handled himself. He leads this team and is going to have to make smart decisions.”
Garrison and guard Tristan Smith combined for all 22 of Chadwick’s points in the first quarter, as the Cardinals jumped out to a 22-13 lead.
But Chadwick managed just 14 points over the second and third quarters. Turnovers plagued the Cardinals.
“We don't like turning the ball over,” Guerin said. “We’ve got some young guys getting their feet wet. We're going to be a work in progress. It's going to take us a little time.”
The teams were tied at 36 entering the fourth quarter.
Garrison twice went to his left hand to score on a finger-roll in the fourth quarter.
“I was kind of surprised by doing that,” he said. “I kind of just laid it up there. But I'm confident with my left hand. I worked a lot on my left hand in the off-season, so I was more confident in it going into this year.”
Class 1 Chadwick (2-0) knocked off a Class 4 foe in Aurora and the Cardinals will face Class 2 power Hartville tonight.
“We beefed this thing up because we want to make a run at (a state championship),” Guerin said. “That's why we're playing good teams. We play (defending Class 3 state runner-up) Lutheran North in a couple weeks. Getting good experience before the post-season is what it's all about. We don't care if we're 12-12 going into Districts. We want to play good teams to get us ready.”