SCORING ISSUE COSTLY IN BOMBERS LOSS
The Ballard Memorial Bombers lost their 2014 opener against Carlisle County in overtime, however a scoring issue discovered after the game may have cost the Bombers a victory. The visiting Comets tied the score at 69 all with 5.5 remaining to send the game into overtime. The score at that time should have been 69-67 in favor of the Bombers.
The Bombers looked impressive in the opening quarter. Cody Newton made several nice passes that lead to some easy buckets and twin brother Clay completed two three point play opportunities to lead the charge. The Bombers lead by as many as 11 in the opening quarter and held the 20-13 advantage after the first period of play. Clay Newton led the way with 11 points in the opening eight minutes. The Comets closed the gap and tied the game at 22 all. Sophomore Keagan Cooper scored the next five points on a field goal and a three point play to allow the Bombers to regain the lead. Another assist from Cody Newton to Zack McAfee, followed by a three point shot Toler Terrell, completed a 10-0 run to push the lead back to 32-22. After the Comets trimmed the lead back to five, Cody found Terrell open for a shot and then scored himself driving to the basket for the 36-27 halftime advantage. The Bomber defense made some nice plays to start some fast breaks that allowed for some transition baskets for the Bombers. “We were able to force some turnovers and score off turnovers,” said Coach Matt Botner about the team’s first half performance.
A TJ Wray three point shot from the left corner provided the Bombers with their biggest lead of 12. The Bombers advantage would diminish as the Comets cut the lead to 43-37. Trevor Langston hit one of two free throws and then canned a three point shot from the right wing to extend the lead to 47-37. The controversial play happened next as Ethan Witherspoon from Carlisle County scored to trim the lead to 47-39 and was fouled on the play. He missed his free throw but the scoreboard now read 47-41 so the Comets received credit for two points they did not score. The Comets continued the comeback and cut the lead to 50-48 heading into the fourth quarter.
A Cody Newton offensive rebound put back pushed the lead to 60-53 for the Bombers, but the Comets would continue to rally. A three pointer by Noah Norsworthy and another bucket by Weatherspoon cut the deficit to two. The Comets next possession had Jordon Kellett connect on a three point shot for the Comets first lead since 6-5. The Bombers would come back and score the next seven points as Clay Newton’s three point play with just over a minute remaining gave the Bombers a 67-61 advantage. The Bomber defense however went to sleep on the defensive end as Norsworthy got an open look from the left corner for a three pointer with 56.4 seconds remaining. Clay Newton would hit two free throws to give the Bombers a 69-64 lead with 24.5 seconds remaining. However as Comets guard Trey Carrico drove into the lane, he was fouled by Lee Chandler. Carrico was ruled in the act of shooting at the time of contact and hit the shot to cut the lead to three. He hit the free throw to make the game a two point contest with 19.5 seconds remaining. Turnovers doomed the Bombers as the Comets got the ball back and Weatherspoon hit the shot in the lane with just over five seconds remaining to tie the score at 69 all. Cooper scored the opening points of the four minute overtime to provide the Bombers a two point lead. The Comets would then take control as they scored the next eight points going six of six from the free throw line and hitting a field goal. The Bombers would not go away as they trimmed the lead to 84-81 on a McAfee three pointer with 8.2 seconds remaining. However Weatherspoon hit two free throws with 7.2 seconds remaining for the 86-81 final.
“It hurt,” said Botner following the loss. He added, “If we would have done the little things of being able to take care of the ball late in the game and hitting our free throws we would have won the game.” The key stat Botner was referring to was the Comets connecting on 29 of 34 free throw attempts while the Bombers hit only 16 of 33. “They made one more play bigger than us,” said Botner as he added, “We have to learn to get stops late in the game and learn how to defend without fouling. We’ve got to get better at guarding teams.”
Clay Newton led the Bombers with 25 points and had several blocked shots in the game. Cody Newton added 12 while Cooper, Langston, and McAfee all had 11 apiece. Also scoring were Terrell with five, Wray added a three pointer for his three, Dre Bledsoe had two and Lee Chandler added one. Norsworthy and Weatherspoon led all scorers with 27 each as Norsworthy hit five of six three point attempts and went a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line.
The Bombers stand at 1-5 on the year and face Cairo on Monday night at the Green Palace before traveling to Murray on Thursday and St. Mary on Saturday. The Bombers then play their second district game on Tuesday, January 16th at the Green Palace against Mayfield and travel to Lyon County on the 16th prior to the All A tournament, which begins on the 18th.