A Bryson Meek basket gave Roncalli its 49th and 50th points of the game midway through the fourth quarter Tuesday night.
This put the Rebels up a dozen points, but only then could coach Michael Wantz finally exhale.
A 56-44 victory at Franklin improved the Rebels’ record to 15-6 — every one of the triumphs taking place when Roncalli scored 50 or more points.
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Jack Hegwood, a 6-foot-5 forward and one of eight seniors on the Rebels roster, led all scorers with 19 points. Kellen Schneider, also a 6-5 forward, added 13 points and eight rebounds, while backup guard Reese McGinsie made three 3-pointers.
“I don’t know exactly what it is, but (Franklin) plays uniquely. They don’t really play like a lot of the teams on our schedule, so we’ve struggled with them,” Wantz said. “They can definitely score, and any time you play a team like that you never feel like your lead is safe.
“I thought that for us to jump out to a lead was good. And then, really, to keep scoring. You don’t want to sit on the ball because they’ll just chip away and chip away and chip away.”
Leading 31-17 at the half, Roncalli would lead by as many as 19 points after a Drew Fleming triple made it 38-19 at 5:49 of the third period. Franklin, led by junior guard Reece Thomson, would pull to within 10 on three different occasions, the last being 50-40.
It was here McGinsie responded with a 3-pointer from the left baseline.
The Grizzly Cubs, now 12-8 entering its Mid-State Conference finale at Plainfield on Friday, were led by Thomson’s 18 points. Sophomore forward Drew Byerly added 11. Franklin made all 13 of its free-throw attempts, but shot .326 from the floor (14 of 43).
“(Roncalli) is very physical, great athletes and very good players. I just thought Roncalli did a very good job all night,” Cubs coach Brad Dickey said. “We’re a little vertically challenged and I thought our guys stood up nobly against their taller players.
“But they made some conversion plays and some rebound plays that despite our best efforts we just couldn’t win. But as far as us acting right and playing together and standing up to them, I thought that went well.”
Hegwood’s putback of a Joe Kirkhoff miss with 2.2 seconds left in the second quarter gave Roncalli a 31-17 halftime lead. Hegwood scored nine of his points before intermission.
The Grizzly Cubs held a 10-7 lead at 3:33 of the second period when the Rebels responded with a 10-0 scoring run to surge ahead.
Byerly’s old-fashioned three-point sequence pulled Franklin to within 17-13 early in the second, but again Roncalli asserted itself with a 7-0 run. Backup guards Conner Gore and McGinsie both produced treys.
Roncalli returns home Friday night to play Franklin Central.