It took the Buckeye Valley boys basketball team the better part of two quarters to dig itself out of a 20-4 hole at the end of the first quarter.
But, it took exactly no time for visiting Highland to score the five points that were ultimately the final margin of a 68-63 non-league win Saturday night in Delaware.
Sophomore Clark Newland was called for his fifth foul going up for a rebound with 29.8 seconds left. But, it was his reaction that proved costly.
“We’ve gotta have more basketball savvy … we gotta know not to react to a call,” Barons coach Andy Gast said. “Those are the things that are teachable moments. But, unfortunately, it was a big play in the game.”
Kaleb Phillips sunk two free throws to give the Scots a 63-61 lead and Mack Anglin added two more free throws on the technical foul.
The Scots kept possession and Phillips sunk another free throw on another common foul.
But, to say the game was decided by Newland’s untimely incident would be an understatement.
“I’m not going to blame the loss on that for sure because we were 9 of 23 at the foul line,” Gast said. “We missed a ton of layups (too). We didn’t really play smart tonight and you’ve gotta learn from that.”
The Barons were 12 points in the hole by the time they scored their first basket – a short bunny in the lane by Newland – and they trailed 20-4 at the end of the opening frame.
“We’re not good enough to just be able to show up and teams are going to lay down for us,” Gast said. “You gotta give Highland credit – they came out hard and they came out ready to play. We didn’t and we’re not good enough to let that happen.”
BV was just 1-for-9 at the foul line in the first half, which proved to be the difference after a 25-point barrage had cut the deficit to 37-29 at the break.
“We felt fortunate – for as bad as we played – to only be down eight at the half,” Gast said.
Luke Lucas drained a pair of threes in the third quarter. The first cut the deficit to one with 2:55 left in the frame and the second gave the Barons a 43-42 lead with 2:18 left. It was the first lead of a game that seemed all but lost.
Lucas finished with 12 points for the Barons (1-3), all on three-pointers.
Newland and Austin Richard played well in the post together. Richard scored 14 points out of the high post and Newland added 12 more when the Highland defense collapsed on Richard.
“Once we finally figured out that we could get the ball to the high post and attack from there – we had a lot of success and that got us back into the game,” Gast said.
Dylan Herbert finished with 14 points, which included the steal and score to tie the game 61-61 with 30.4 seconds left.
“I give our kids credit for battling back,” Gast said. “It was a lot of energy to expend to come all the way back. We had opportunities, but we missed a lot of free throws.”
Highland, which had a size and athletic advantage over BV, got big-time performances out of Anglin, who scored a game-high 23 points, and Phillips, who scored 20 points.
Andrew Wheeler, a pesky guard who found success driving the lane, chipped in 15 points for the Scots (2-1).
But, it came down to free throws for BV. The Barons had two chances to tie the game late on free throws, but missed all four shots.
BV returns to MOAC action Thursday night at Clear Fork.
OLENTANGY ORANGE 63, THOMAS WORTHINGON 49
Jalen Bethel scored 15 points and Jordan Shelton added 10 to lead the Pioneers (4-0) to a non-league win against visiting Thomas Worthington Saturday night.
Host Buckeye Valley used a strong 17-4 start and bookended it with a solid fourth quarter en route to a 53-42 win over Ontario in MOAC action Saturday evening in Delaware.
Morgan Scowden scored 16 points, Dani Grether had 15 off the bench and Alaina Radcliffe added eight points to lead the Barons (3-2, 1-1).
“This is a great night for our program,” BV coach Travis Stout said. “You gotta give credit to Ontario. They came in off a big win the other night against North Union. So, any time you can come in and beat a team with positive momentum like that is good.”
Nashail Shelby scored nine of her game-high 19 points in the third quarter as Ontario (2-2, 2-1) got as close as two points before BV pulled away in the final frame.
“Ontario kept punching … and we never quite let them get over the hump and that was the important thing,” Stout said. “We held our position and then we counter-punched and extended the lead when we had to.”