By Dennis Glade
Washington Times Herald
Basketball games come down to a handful of plays that decide the outcome, unfortunately for Barr-Reeve that’s the cold reality of postseason basketball.
Class A No. 10 Borden (22-3) upset the Class A No. 3 Vikings (24-2) 43-42 to win the Class A Regional Championship Saturday evening at Jack Butcher Arena.
Trailing by four points late in the fourth quarter, freshman Logan James found junior Micah Bullock for a layup to cut Barr-Reeve’s deficit to 42-40 with 1:50 to play in regulation. The Vikings quickly went into their defensive press, and sophomore Addison Wagler came up with a steal. Wagler passed to Bullock, who was fouled and went to the free throw line.
The junior forward missed both attempts. On the next possession, James stole the ball at midcourt and raced towards the basket. James was also fouled on a layup attempt. The Vikings freshman point guard missed both of his free throw attempts.
“There aren’t any other two kids on our team that I’d want at the line in those situations than Micah (Bullock) and Logan (James),” Hughes said. “That’s basketball.”
Borden senior Billy Kirchgessner made one of two free throws to extend the lead to 43-40. With 17 seconds to play, Hughes called a timeout. Out of the timeout, senior Brandon Wagler got a good look at a corner three, but he missed. Barr-Reeve retained possession with 2.6 seconds remaining.
With just enough time for one shot, James got a pass from Addison Wagler and missed a 3-pointer, but he was fouled, and would get three free throw attempts to tie the game with 0.3 seconds on the clock. James missed the first and sank the next two, but it wasn’t enough.
“These kids have had a great year, but we missed five free throws down the stretch,” Hughes said.
After a bad offensive start in its win over Northeast Dubois, Barr-Reeve came out firing in the first half. The score was tied at nine after one quarter, and a late push gave the Vikings a 23-22 lead at halftime. James had a four-point play and Bullock hit a jumper in the final seconds of the half.
In the third quarter, Borden caught fire. Senior guard Jalen McCoy (17 points) hit four 3-pointers in the quarter as part of an 11-2 run that saw a tie game turn into a 36-27 lead near the end of the quarter. Bullock’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 36-30 at the end of the quarter.
“We knew he was a kid that could make, and that’s primarily what we were doing with the (3-2) zone,” Hughes said. We didn’t do a very good job there for a couple possessions. You let him hit a couple and then he hits the real deep one, and then you’re in a situation where you have to go man-to-man. I was a little concerned with trying to guard them, they all drive the ball.”
Bullock scored eight of his game-high 20 points in the final quarter, including two 3-pointers as Barr-Reeve rallied from an eight-point hole. The Borden defense did a good job all night of denying Addison Wagler in the post, as the Vikings No. 1 option was held to nine points.
“They (Borden) are very athletic,” Hughes said. “Their kids are 6-2, but they move well. Micah (Bullock) hit some threes for us, but we needed more perimeter scoring. When things really open up for us is when we have all those guys knocking shots down.”