After having not played on their home court in 21 days, Aledo went down to the wire with Springtown on Tuesday, Dec. 5, before Joaquin Pacheco took an inbound pass the length of the floor for the go-ahead score with just four seconds left on the clock.
The Bearcats defense struggled all night, but managed to come up big when they needed it most, as the Porcupines came up empty at the final buzzer with Aledo picking up the 63-61 win.
For Aledo hoops head coach, JD Robinson, the disappointment in the Bearcats defensive performance weighed heavy even with the win.
“We lost track of our man several times,” Robinson said during the postgame interview. “Our goal is to see man and ball at all times. There were several times where we lost one or the other. We were late rotating. That’s something we talk about all the time, is seeing man and ball.”
Aledo held a 10-point lead at halftime, but a tumultuous third quarter defensively provided Springtown with the opportunity to get back in the game. The Porcupines scored 23 points, while taking nine shots from the free-throw line, cutting the Bearcat lead to just one possession, 50-48.
With Springtown reeling the Bearcats back in during the third quarter, the stage was set for a drama-filled finish as the fourth quarter got underway. A pair of buckets by Jack Sawyer at the 7:37 mark, and the 4:12 mark gave the home team some breathing room with six points dividing the two teams and forcing Springtown to take a timeout.
Following the brief intermission, Dayne Thompson knocked down a three-pointer to cut the lead in half, keeping Springtown within striking distance, 55-52, with 3:57 remaining. In the ensuing possession, Owen Peterson answered back with a three of his own to put the Bearcats back up by six, 58-52, with just over three minutes remaining.
The action stayed quiet as a minute’s worth of time trickled away on the game clock. With 2:01 left, Braylon Easter hit Sprintown’s second trey ball of the fourth quarter, once again slashing Aledo’s lead in half.
In the final two minutes, the combatants traded opportunities at the charity stripe with neither able to seize a notable advantage. However, a pair of trips to the line with under 30 seconds left in the contest for the Porcupines knotted the game up at 61-61 with just 11 seconds left on the clock following a 2-for-2 trip to the stripe for Easter.
Robinson called a timeout to talk his guys through the plan to end the game with one final bucket.
As action resumed Pacheco curled near the baseline at the far end of the floor to take the inbounds pass from Jackson Todd. From there he raced down the floor passing by multiple Porcupines with relative ease. As he reached the top of the key the Bearcats had a favorable 2-on-1 situation with Sawyer setting up shop near the low post.
With the lone defender unable to leave his man fast enough, Pacheco glided towards the goal, laying the ball off the glass for an easy go-ahead bucket that put Aledo up 63-61 with four ticks left on the clock.
Springtown took the inbounds pass, raced down the floor where they were greeted by the Bearcats at half-court. Throwing up a desperation shot from well beyond the three-point line as time ran out, the ball found nothing but air as Aledo walked off the hardwood having successfully defended their home court.
Aledo jumped out to an early lead largely due to their ability to knock down long-range jumpers behind the arc. Todd and Owen Peterson both knocked down multiple three-pointers in the first half, including a buzzer-beater by Peterson that put the Bearcats up 14-11 at the end of the first quarter.
One of the things Aledo does better this season than last, is getting everyone involved in the offense. The Bearcats posted 21 points in the second quarter on Tuesday with six different players contributing to their tally.
“We shot the ball well early on,” Robinson said. “That put us in a good spot being up 10 at the half. Really, just defensively, we were really bad. That’s my fault. I’ve got to do a better job coming off the weekend. We played four games last weekend. I think we’re a little fatigued, but everybody is this time of year. We’ve got to be a lot tougher defensively. That’s my biggest concern after tonight.”
While pleased with the way his team has performed as of late, especially at the offensive end of the floor, Robinson knows his team has some work to do before they encounter what lurks just around the corner with district play set to start on Dec. 19.
“Our guys are doing a good job of getting the ball inside, and knowing when and where to put the ball,” he stated. “We still got to get better at it, though. We’re going to play a lot better athletes than what we’ve played, even in the past couple of weekends. We’ve got to be more precise and decisive as to when and where we’re doing our post feeds inside, and when to attack.”
On the upside, the Bearcats will have ample opportunity to work on some of the areas of their game that need some refining before district play begins. Aledo will host the Aledo Moritz Classic starting on Thursday. The Bearcats open the tournament with their first game set to start at 11:30 am.
Bearcats vs. Springtown – Dec. 5
Aledo 14 21 15 13 - 63
Springtown 11 14 23 13 - 61
Aledo scoring: Jackson Todd 23, Jack Sawyer 16, Owen Peterson 11, Joaquin Pacheco 9, Kaden LoBaugh 2, Brett Barclay 2.
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