On the verge of being buried on Saturday night, Legacy came back to life inside Olson Gymnasium.
Trailing 22-6 five minutes in, the Sabers made Century earn it, but the Patriots made the key plays late to hold on for a 63-55 victory, their 13th of the season.
“I think you have to give a lot of credit to Legacy,” Century coach Darin Mattern said. “Often times you’ll see a situation like that where a team loses its spirit and you’re able to extend the lead and kind of pull away, but they fought back.”
Jason Horner liked his team’s fight but was in no mood for silver linings.
“I’m not a moral-victory guy,” the Legacy head coach said. “Yes, I’m proud of our kids for fighting back, but we’ve been a poor-starting team all season and I’m not sure why and that cost us the game tonight.”
After a back-and-forth start, Century scored 10 straight points — five each from Treyton Mattern and Cade Feeney — to balloon the lead to 16 (22-6).
“We have to learn how to punch a team in the mouth instead of being punched and then having to fight back,” Horner said. “You can’t dig that deep of a hole against a team like Century and expect to be able to dig out.”
They nearly did, though.
Still down 31-19 at halftime, the Sabers got within four three times, the last on a three-point play by sophomore Nick Kupfer at 54-50.
The decisive possession followed.
After a strong defensive stand by Legacy, Feeney hit a tough, contested corner 3 with less than two minutes to play to put the Patriots back up seven.
“Defensively, we didn’t do a good job with their penetration, particularly in the second half,” Mattern said. “They were able to get to the rim and either finish, get fouled our kick it out. Defensively, I like how we’ve been playing. Even in this game, I thought we forced them into some tough shots early in the game, but again give Legacy credit, they made plays in the second half.”
Feeney led all scorers in the game with 24 points. Mattern had a tough 21.
“Treyton’s a great player. We threw some stuff at him and for the most part I felt like we made him earn what he got,” Horner said. “But then Feeney makes that tough shot in the corner. That was a big play in the game.”
The Sabers remain without second-leading scorer Troy Hilz, who’s been out the last month with an ankle injury. Kupfer led Legacy with 19 points. Keagen Woodbury (11), Paxton Miller (10) and Clements, playing with a bum ankle, also had 10.
“We need to start like how we finished tonight. It’s not very complicated for us, really,” Horner said.
Century hosts St. Mary’s on Tuesday. Mattern, as usual, has the Patriots right on track. Century has won nine of its last 10.
“We’ve seen some really good growth throughout the course of the season. Obviously, we’re not there yet, but I like what our kids are doing,” Mattern said. “We want to be playing our best basketball in March and I think we’re making good progress toward doing that.”