By KEVIN THOMPSON
DEERFIELD - Sometimes when you're outsized, playing away from home, and coming off a tough game the night before, your team has to find something to keep itself going.
That something is called intestinal fortitude, and the Ingalls Bulldogs had it Tuesday as they snagged a 46-41 road win against Deerfield for their second win in as many nights as part of a week that will test their mettle.
The Bulldogs used an 18-6 second quarter to build a 13-point halftime cushion, then they played as tenaciously as their mascot in the second half to hold off a resurgent Spartan team.
Landon Vanderree was the catalyst for the Bulldogs, canning four of his game-high three-pointers in the first half, including the final two field goals for Ingalls.
In the pivotal second quarter, Ingalls shot 70 percent (7-for-10) from the field while holding Deerfield to just a pair of baskets and two free throws by Trey DeLaRosa.
They needed every point they could muster as Deerfield came out strong in the third quarter by forcing four consecutive turnovers, and not allowing a field goal until the 2:27 mark; the only Bulldog goal in that quarter.
By 6:03 in the fourth, Mike Mata's free throws cut the Ingalls lead to just three, 39-36.
Vanderree's final trey bumped that lead back to six, but three more Mata free throws and DeLaRosa's final basket cut the lead to just 42-41 with 3:33 to play.
Then turnovers bit the Spartans as they turned it over their next three possessions. They also missed five attempts on their final two possessions and Ingalls had escaped with its second win in 24 hours.
"We really played hard last night, and tonight wasn't any easier," a relieved Butch Nally said of his team's win. "There was no let down."
Deerfield extended its zone defense in the second half, forcing his team to play a little wider and having to make longer passes. But despite shots not dropping for a long period of time, his Bulldogs kept playing hard during that time until Varerree's late three.
"I thought we got some pretty good looks overall," Nally said. "We were pretty patient with the ball and took what they gave us."
Turnovers were still an issue on this night, he admitted, but with some younger players making some mistakes, he knew that was to be expected. But credit his team with playing through those mistakes and holding on.
Holding Deerfield's Brennan Wood to just four points was part of his game plan, Nally said, but they were not quite prepared for the play of DeLaRosa, coming back after a few weeks away from action to score 17.
"He's tough; he's a good player," Nally said. "But I thought we did an okay job on him."
For Deerfield coach Jeff Braun, the loss came with a positive: the second half effort and comeback. It was also good to get DeLaRosa back.
With no games until next week, Braun said he'll use the next days to take a breather and get ready for positioning for substate. At 5-12, he knows the final games next week are key in seeding.
And with Rolla on Thursday and Ashland on Friday, Nally would like to see the same energy his team showed Monday and Tuesday. At 6-11, momentum heading into substate is critical for his team.
See box scores in Scoreboard, Page B2.