PANDORA — Kalida kept chipping away at the Pandora-Gilboa lead.
Then, off the bench came P-G’s Grant Murphy.
Murphy sank back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter to help Pandora-Gilboa to a 48-35 boys basketball win Tuesday at Pandora-Gilboa.
“We’re all seniors and juniors and we’ve played in close to 70 career games so nothing really phases us,” Murphy said. “So when a shot comes up, we’ve seen it so many times. We’re not nervous to take any shots. We all have faith in each other. We’re always ready to shoot it.’’
Kalida is 2-2, 0-1 in the Putnam County League. P-G is 3-0, 1-0 in the PCL.
P-G’s 6-foot-6 senior Drew Johnson led the Rockets with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Jared Breece had 10 points, while Eli Phillips and Murphy both scored eight for P-G.
A big key was the P-G man-to-man defense, which got Kalida out of its rhythm early.
“That’s the staple of our team team,” Murphy said. “We’re so big, we’re so long and we’re so athletic. Coach Braidic definitely preaches on it every day. Our defense is huge for us and that’s what carried us to win this game.’’
The Rockets led 25-18 at the half, but Kalida came back to get within 25-23 early in the third quarter.
Murphy’s back-to-back 3-pointers helped ignite a 12-2 P-G run to push the Rockets’ lead to 37-25.
“He (Murphy) is a good shooter,” P-G coach Joe Braidic said. “He has the green light every time he catches it. He usually starts, but Riley (Larcom) is probably our best defender and we wanted him to keep (Grant) Laudick out of the paint. And Riley did a great job of doing that.’’
The closest Kalida would get in the final quarter was 38-32. Breece hit 4 of 5 at the foul line to help P-G pull out the win.
Owen Recker led Kalida with 11 points. Trevor Lambert and Grant Laudick both scored 10.
Pandora-Gilboa came out in a smothering man-to-man defense.
The Rockets led 17-12 after the first quarter and 25-18 at the half.
“They play good defense, too,” Braidic said. “It was a hard-fought game. We want to run a little bit this year, but they took things away from us, too.’’
P-G went on an 8-3 first-quarter run to break up a 9-9 game to take a five-point lead after the first quarter.
P-G continually rammed the ball inside in the first half. Of the Rockets’ nine first-half baskets, eight came via layups.
For the game, P-G had 16 field goals, with 13 coming on layups.
Braidic said that was the idea.
“We wanted to attack the rim. That was the idea,” Braidic said. “We were looking for kick-out threes, but they were guarding those rotations at the line.’’
The Rockets also went through the entire first half without a turnover.
In the end, Kalida had 16 turnovers, while P-G had seven.
Kalida won the boards, 22-16.
P-G shot 44 percent from the field and was 3 of 9 on 3-pointers.
Kalida shot 47 percent from the field and was 4 of 7 on 3-pointers.
P-G returns a veteran team from a club that went 16-7 last year and won the Putnam County League title with a 6-1 record.
“That was hard to play that caliber of team this early in,” Braidic said.
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.