By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
Early on, the shots just weren’t falling for McAuley Catholic sophomore guard Adam Robertson. He was limited to three points in the first half and missed several three-point attempts.
The early-shooting woes didn’t discourage Robertson as he scored 13 points in the second half to help the Warriors erase an early 10-point deficit.
“My teammates just told me to calm down and keep focus, and I did,” Robertson said. “Then I started hitting shots.”
Robertson helped spark McAuley to a 56-50 win over the Thomas Jefferson Cavaliers in an Ozark 7 Conference game Friday night at Thomas Jefferson.
Shaw Robertson led the Warriors with 18 points, and Cole Lowry scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter. McAuley outscored Thomas Jefferson 19-8 in the fourth.
Thomas Jefferson’s John Burnett scored 15 of his game-high 20 points in the first half to help the Cavaliers take a 25-15 lead at the 3:25 mark of the second quarter. Burnett’s scoring coupled with several blocked shots by 6-10 senior Justin Brown left McAuley in a hole early.
McAuley (8-10, 3-2 Ozark 7) switched from a zone to man-to-man defense in the second quarter. However, McAuley coach Randy Robertson said the surge was less about adjustments and more about keeping focus.
“We were intimidated early by the big kid,” Randy Robertson said. “We missed a lot of shots and wouldn’t take it into him. No adjustments, just don’t worry about the big kid. Don’t worry about how many shots he blocks. Just keep playing ball and keep focus. And that’s what we did.”
Adam Robertson helped the Warriors get back in the game with 10 points — including two 3-pointers — in the third quarter. Then, he pulled McAuley within two at 42-40 with a 3-pointer to open the fourth.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Shaw Robertson made a runner to give the Warriors their first lead of the game at 46-45.
Lowry extended the lead to 52-45 with 2:04 left by scoring on a putback, a steal and a layup and an inside bucket to finish a 6-0 run of his own.
“Cole’s a hustler,” Randy Robertson said. “You can’t slow him down. He had some big ones in the fourth quarter. That steal and bucket was huge. It took it to a two-possession game.”
Thomas Jefferson (4-10 overall, 0-4 Ozark 7) responded with a free throw from Burnett, a layup by Tyler Thurman and a hook shot by Brown to make it a 52-50 game with 40 seconds left.
With time winding down, the Cavaliers were forced to foul. McAuley’s Zach Crossland made the first of a 1-and-1 to take a 53-50 lead with 19 seconds left. Crossland missed the second, but Lowry got the rebound. After Lowry’s attempt fell short, Shaw Robertson grabbed the rebound and made a putback to seal the win.
“Whenever they switched out of zone and into man, we got out of sync,” Thomas Jefferson coach Chris Myers said. “We started to recover. Late in the fourth, we started getting things going our way. But we just didn’t execute enough to win the game.”
Brown scored 13, and Thurman had 11 for the Cavaliers.
Thomas Jefferson will try to rebound Monday at Bronaugh. McAuley will face College Heights on Tuesday at the McAuley Classic.