Bombers Not Able To Put In Full Game
Ballard Memorial has struggled throughout the year in playing a full 32 minutes of basketball. This week was no different as the Bombers played well in stretches, but they were unable to put together the full game to win in their three games.
The week started terribly wrong for the Bombers as they went to play at the Eagle’s Nest against one of the regions favorites in Graves County. Toler Terrell hit one of two free throws to start the game with the Bombers up 1-0. For the next 15 minutes, it was all Graves County. The Eagles dominated the remainder of the first half and led 43-14 at the half. The Bombers showed signs of life in the second half and were only outscored 20-17 in the third quarter and still trailed 63-31. The Bombers then showed some muscle as they scored as many points in the final eight minutes as they had in the prior three quarters. The 31 point outburst was able to make the final 80-62.
The Bombers looked to carry the fourth quarter momentum from Monday’s game against Graves County over to the Thursday night matchup against Murray. The first quarter, both teams were trying to feel each other out and the Tigers were able to take the 8-7 lead after eight minutes of play. The Tigers would try and pull away from the Bombers as they went up 15-9. The Bombers then turned up the pressure and went on a big run of their own. Cody Newton would make a nice feed to Lee Chandler for a bucket and Chandler would follow up with another bucket with 4:39 remaining for the Bombers first lead at 16-15. A three point play by TJ Wray and a three point bucket by Zack McAfee late in the period put a cap on the 16-2 Bomber run. A late three point bucket by the Tigers would trim the Bomber lead to 25-20 at the break. That three point bucket was a preview of the third quarter. The Tigers came out and fired the three ball to regain the lead 33-29. The five point Bomber halftime lead turned into a six point deficit heading into the final quarter. Newton would make back to back buckets to trim the lead to 41-39, but that would be as close as the Bombers would get. The Tigers would score the next seven to put some cushion to their lead. Actually the Tigers outscored the Bombers 19-5 before Terrell would hit a three to end the game with the 60-47 Tiger victory. “I think the effort was there. We were ready to play, but we played a good half. We were unable to play a full 32 minutes,” said Coach Matt Botner.
The Bomber’s then traveled to Bardwell to take on the Carlisle County Comets on Valentine’s Day. Botner said prior to the game, “We have to get stops late and get those second chance opportunities.” The Bombers came out strong and took the 19-12 lead late in the first quarter. But the problems with the Bombers giving up big runs haunted them once again. The Comets went on a 14-0 run to take the 26-19 lead for Carlisle County. Clay Newton would make a field goal to cut the lead to 32-30 before the Comets scored the last six points in the period for the 38-30 advantage at the break.
Both teams struggled to find their touch in the second half as they only managed ten points each in the third. In the fourth, each team would take a shot at each other. Chandler would convert a three point opportunity and got another field goal to trim the lead to three. Dre Bledsoe’s field goal with three minutes remaining cut the lead to 52-51. The Bombers blocked a shot by Chase French, but he would get his own miss and put the shot back in. The Comets pushed the lead to 58-51 with 1:42 left. The Bombers would not go away quietly. They clawed their way back to within one on a three point play by Keagan Cooper. Ethan Weatherspoon hit one of two free throws with 15.8 seconds remaining for the Comet 61-59 lead. Cooper would come down and throw up an off balance shot that went in with just under seven seconds remaining to tie the game. Witherspoon would take the inbound pass and go length of the court and pulled up for a six foot shot over three Bomber defenders. The ball went through the net as the buzzer sounded for the Comet 63-61 win. “He’s a clutch player and he hit a tough shot,” said Botner of Weatherspoon’s last second shot and he added, “It’s frustrating because I wish I could reward the guys for their effort. We competed, but they made one more play that we did.”
For the week, Cooper led the team scoring a total of 36 points while Clay Newton would add 31. Lee Chandler would finish the week with 26 while Dre Bledsoe had 24. Terrell would have 14 and Cody Newton added 14. McAfee ended with eight, Wray had seven, Zack Parsons would finish with six and Trevor Langston had three. The Bombers are 3-14 on the year as they wrap up the regular season with Fulton City on the 17th and the home finale on the 18th against Hickman County, and they travel to Paducah Tilghman on the 20th. The first round of the 3rd District Tournament will be at Mayfield on the 25th as the Bombers play the host Cardinals around 7:30.