When you go to theme parks and ride the roller coaster there are signs saying if you have a bad heart, are pregnant, have bad knees, have pricked you finger in the last week you might not want to ride this ride.
A similar sign might have been helpful to Borden fans as they entered last Saturday’s regional at Loogootee.
After winning a thriller, 52-51, against Orleans, things were just as tight in the regional championship for Borden as they kept their season alive with a 43-42 win over Barr-Reeve.
In the first quarter for the regional championship, both teams picked up a three and a couple of baskets to knot up at nine all in the end.
Both teams played tough defense, rebounded well and kept turnovers to a minimum. It was a sign this was going to be tough.
But there was a plan that was obvious from the beginning. Borden was going to collapse their defense on Barr Reeves center Addison Wagler and give up some three point shots. This worked well holding him to nine points, well below his average. It did lead to some of the Borden players appearing to do Super Man imitations as they were flying through the air to disrupt outside shooting, but it was working.
Both teams continued their tough defense in the second quarter. Then with 3:31 to play Borden’s Josh Vollstedt hit a bucket to give Borden a five point lead, 22 to 17. Barre Reeves came back with Logan James hitting a three plus a free throw from a foul on the shot. Then with four seconds Barre Reeves leading scorer for the night, Micah Bullock hit a basket to end the half, 23 to 22 Barre Reeves.
The third quarter saw both teams crank up the defense and go cold on the offense. Well not everyone. Borden’s Jalen McCoy put on a shooting clinic as he hit four 3’s in the quarter. The last one came with him standing 5’ outside the 3-point line. When there was a hesitation Borden’s Coach Nash came off the bench and shouted, “SHOOT IT!” McCoy gave a glance to the bench and cut loose, hitting his fourth three. This earned McCoy a shadow for the fourth quarter, his defender was never more than two feet from him for the rest of the game. Borden pulled away to a lead of 36 to 30.
The fourth quarter would have made the most faithful nervous. Barr Reeves slowly chipped away at the lead till time had run down to a little over a minute and Borden held a two point lead, 42 to 40. Over the next 30 seconds two Barre Reeves players missed a pair of free throws. Billy Kirchgessner hit one of two free throws to spread the lead to three.
Then with one second to play Barr Reeve’s freshman guard James came to the line with three free throws. Borden called a time out then returned to the floor where James missed the first free throw. Borden called another time out but when they returned James hit the last two free throws making it a one point game with a second to play. The ball came in to Borden’s Bachman who passed to Kirchgessner who then threw the ball to the rafters so he couldn’t be fouled. By the time it came down the game was over with Borden winning 43 to 42.
Borden’s coach Nash says he gives his players credit for the wins and he takes responsibility for the loses. In this game there was a great game plan executed by players with skill and heart. I believe there is plenty of credit to share on and off the court.
Coach Nash commented after the game, “Our plan from the beginning was to stop the middle and give up the threes, we picked our poison. Jalen shot with a lot of confidence. We had a couple carless turnovers late in the game but we got the stop and the rebound we needed.”
Leading scorers for Borden were: McCoy 17 and Michael Lynch with 10.
Before the evening game Barr Reeves was 16 and 0 on the Loogootee floor. Borden has played Barr Reeves twice in the regional and defeated them both times to win the Regional.
Borden will play this Saturday at 4 p.m. in Seymour High School’s gym. They will play University from just north of Indianapolis. The winner of that game will play in the state final the following Saturday. Yes folks there are only four left and we are one of them!