Billy Kirchgessner's best pass of the season was to no one in particular. It simply had to stay in the air for just over a second.
Borden escaped Orleans, 52-51, in the opening round of the Class A Loogootee boys basketball Regional Saturday.
The Braves had to overcome a six-point 41-35 lead with 6:05 left to play for their second one-point win of the season over the Bulldogs. Borden (21-3) had defeated Orleans (13-11), 37-36, at Orleans, Jan. 25.
Kirchgessner played a key role in Borden's rally. The guard scored seven points in the fourth quarter, including five of six free throw shooting.
Borden appeared to have the game put away, leading the Bulldogs, 52-48 with 11 seconds to play. But that was before Bulldog Murphy Wheeler took his first shot of the game from 23 feet for a 3-pointer with four seconds left.
It could be argued that Cody Bachman¹s half-court pass on the ensuing inbound pass following an Orleans timeout was the critical pass.
Jalen McCoy, who had a team-high 17 points for Borden, made his way behind the Borden press near the 10-second line to receive the ball. He dribbled away from the Borden defenders to kill the clock before passing to Kirchgessner who then tossed the ball as high as he could into the air to kill the clock.
The Braves enjoyed three players in double figures as Kirchgessner scored 13 and Michael Lynch added 11.
Trey Bradley paced the Bulldogs with a game-high 21 points. Cale Hall tossed in 12 for Orleans.
The teams started slowly before Borden ended the first quarter holding an 11-7 lead.
Borden opened the gap to 13-7 early in the second, and then extended the lead to 20-11 with 4:30 remaining. But Bradley scored the final six points of the half and Orleans cut the gap to 19-16 at halftime.
The Bulldogs took the lead at 31-30 with 2:55 left in the third on another Bradley basket and led 36-32 at the end of the third quarter.
The win gave Borden a birth in the regional championship at Jack Butcher Arena that evening.