BOMBERS LOSE PAIR ON THE ROAD
The Ballard Memorial Bombers are still looking to find the formula that will result in some victories. After an overtime loss the prior week to Carlisle County, the Bombers turned their attention to a couple of other All A opponents. First up was the number three seeded Murray Tigers on Thursday night, January 9th. It was the type of game the Bombers appear to thrive at which is getting the ball up and down the floor. After falling behind by four in the opening quarter, the Bombers rallied to trail 33-32 at the intermission. The Bombers fell being by four again entering the final eight minutes and made a late rally again. Trailing by five with about a minute remaining, Zach McAfee canned his third trey of the game to cut the lead to two. Then following a steal, Keagan Cooper was able to tie the game up to send the game into overtime for the second game in a row. However, the Bombers could not find a way to pull out the victory and fell 72-68 to the Tigers. “I thought it was the first game all year we’ve had a full effort throughout,” said Coach Matt Botner. He added, “They pressed us and they tried to turn us over and we did a really good job of breaking their press, making good passes in transition and scoring in transition.” Cooper led the way with 16, while McAfee added 13, Dre Bledsoe finished with 12, and Clay Newton ended with double figures with ten. TJ Wray had six points, Zach Parsons added three and Trevor Langston finished with two.
The Bombers then had to face the All A favorite St. Mary Vikings for the second time this season on Saturday, January 11th at St. Mary. Trailing 8-4, Dre Bledsoe converted a three point opportunity and then on the Bombers next possession, Bledsoe scored again to give the Bombers the 9-8 advantage, The Vikings responded for the next four points before Cooper made a bucket to cut the Viking lead to 12-11. The Vikings scored the last four of the quarter to take the 16-11 lead.
The Bombers found themselves down 20-15 when the Vikings got a mini run and scored seven unanswered points to push the advantage to double figures at 27-15. The game would see the Vikings take the 33-23 lead into the intermission.
To start the third, the Bombers managed to trim the lead to 37-30, but the Vikings took control after that. St. Mary would outscore the Bombers 16-4 to take the commanding 53-34 lead into the final quarter. The largest lead of the game would reach 23 before the Bombers were able to cut into that lead. TJ Wray and Clay Newton would get back to back buckets and Trevor Langston would can a three point shot, and the deficit stood at 60-43. The game would see several trips to the charity stripe down the stretch as the Vikings claimed the 74-56 victory.
The Bombers only finished with two players in double figures in scoring with Bledsoe leading the way with 13 and Clay Newton adding ten. Lee Chandler ended with nine, Langston had seven, and Cooper concluded with six. Finishing with three points each were Cody Newton, Toler Terrell, and McAfee, while Wray added two points. The Bombers hit 17 of 31 field goals from two point range, four of 11 from behind the arc, and only hit 10 of 21 free throw attempts. Discussing what makes St. Mary so dangerous, Botner said, “You make a little mistake and they make you pay for it.” The Bombers are 1-8 on the season and 0-1 in district play. “We’re trying to keep them in a positive mind set so the negativity does not creep in,” said Botner as the Bombers hit a crucial portion of their schedule. The Bombers will face the Mayfield at home on Tuesday, January 14th before heading to Lyon County on Thursday the 16th. The Bombers then open the All A Tournament as the number five seed on Wednesday night, January 22nd against the number four seed Hickman County Falcons. The All A tournament will be at Paducah Tilghman with game time set for 6:00.