UNION — One moment, the Daniel Boone boys basketball team found itself tied with Berks Conference Division 1 rival Reading High late in the second quarter of Thursday night’s game.
Seemingly the next, the Blazers were left in the dust by the Red Knights’ up-tempo attack thanks to a torrent of turnovers and untimely missed shots.
The end result was a 57-41 loss that dropped Boone to 1-3 in league play and 6-5 overall.
“It was really their athleticism and dumb decisions on our part,’ Blazers senior guard Kenny Worthington said. “We had a couple turnovers we shouldn’t have had, and that’s always going to hurt you against a team like that.’
Boone hung tough most of the first half, with Worthington contributing seven of his team-high 11 points.
And when Cedric Mann went 1-for-2 from the foul line 2:54 before the half, the Blazers drew even at 21-21.
But Reading’s quintet of Gilberto Benz, Zhykeir Burdine, Khary Mauras, Lonnie Walker and Isael Abreu gradually took command from there as the Red Knights (3-1, 8-4) won their fourth straight.
Benz scored a game-high 15 points; Burdine (13) and Mauras (12) also hit double figures; Walker came off the bench to score nine points and was a factor at both ends of the court; and Abreu scored eight points.
“I was just proud to see these guys be resilient throughout the game,’ Red Knights coach Rick Perez said. “We controlled the game, and that’s we wanted to do.’
Reading went up to stay at 23-21 on Benz’s basket off a feed from Burdine with 2:20 left in the second quarter and took a 27-22 lead to the locker room.
Then in the third quarter, the Red Knights seized the game by the throat thanks to a 10-3 spurt highlighted by a 3-pointer from Walker, a freshman who is the son of former Alvernia standout Lonnie Walker.
“Lonnie’s very efficient,’ Perez said. “What makes him even more effective is that he doesn’t force anything; he lets the game come to him.’
Boone got within 37-28 on a baseline runner by Mann that closed out the third quarter scoring, but Reading answered with a six-point run to open the fourth quarter and settle matters.
“We came out in the second half and had like four or five really good looks right off the bat, but we couldn’t put any of them away,’ lamented Boone coach Ian Gendreau. “Then they got a couple of quick buckets.
“We don’t match up great with their ‘ man,’ but once they scored on a couple of possessions, we didn’t have any choice but to man them up.’
Boone wound up committing 19 turnovers to seal its fate.
“We had to come out hot in the third quarter, but we didn’t,’ Gendreau said. “And we didn’t take care of the ball.
“I liked our intensity; that had been an issue lately but it wasn’t tonight. We played hard, but we just didn’t play as smart as we needed to.’
“We just have to play smarter basketball,’ echoed Worthington. “If we can put it all together, we’ll be good.’
Boone, which returns to action Saturday against Conrad Weiser, is in the midst of a stretch in which 6-of-7 games are on the road — including daunting back-to-back tests against county favorites Wilson and Berks Catholic next week. … Reading went 20-for-25 from the foul line, with Burdine going 9-for-10. … Reading won the rebounding battle 28-21, with Benz grabbing eight boards. … Walker threw down a one-handed dunk off a lob from Mauras in the second quarter, while Boone’s Keyon McCutchen had a two-handed slam from the right baseline off a pass from Mike Dabney in the fourth quarter.