LINCOLN – Chicago Harlan’s Brahium Johnson picked the perfect time for his only basket in Monday’s season opener against Danville.
Johnson’s 3-pointer from the right baseline with 21 seconds left in the game was the different as the Falcons defeated the Vikings 72-70 in an opening-round game of the Eaton Corporation Lincoln Holiday Tournament at the Roy S. Anderson Gymnasium.
Danville (0-1) had two opportunities to send the game into overtime, but Denzel Smith’s jumper with 12 seconds left was off the mark and the Vikings committed their 19th turnover in the final seconds.
“Anytime, we get into a situation like that, we want the ball in hands of Denzel Smith,’’ Danville coach Ted Houpt said. “On that final possession, we were just trying to get any kind of shot, trying to go the full length of the court in 4 seconds.’’
And while Danville didn’t make the play necessary to win the final seconds, it was the first three minutes of the fourth quarter that actually hurt the Vikings more than the final 30 seconds.
Harlan (1-0) went on a 12-4 run to start the final quarter which allowed the Falcons to build a 60-52 lead against the Vikings, who committed four turnovers and missed three straight shots on their first seven possessions of the period.
“We had one bad stretch,’’ Houpt said. “You can’t guard turnovers. It’s a double whammy because it takes away your opportunity to score and it gave them too many easy baskets.’’
Houpt, who didn’t consider this game a moral victory, did say he was pleased with the season opener.
“Other than that one bad stretch, I thought we played pretty well,’’ Houpt said. “Coming into the season, I wondered how we would handle quickness and pressure. We did a pretty good job, but there are still things that we need to get cleaned up.’’