It all came down to the final second in a conference match up between the Willow Springs Bears and the Cabool Bulldogs Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs controlled the ball with a one point lead and 22 seconds left on the clock, but a backcourt violation resulted in a turnover. Cabool regained possession, stealing the ball with 10 seconds left and drawing a foul.
Shots at the charity stripe were no good, and Willow Springs sophomore guard Bryce Duddridge drove to the basket, where he found 6’6” senior center Tyler Figley underneath, and Figley powered the shot in with 1.8 seconds left on the clock to take the lead.
The Bulldogs rocketed the ball to the opposite end, but a turnover recovered by Duddridge ended the game with a Bears win, 58-57.
“It was a really good play,” said Bears head coach Mike Mallow of the final frame. “We were able to finish down the stretch. That was exciting and I’m glad for the guys. They’ve been trying hard.”
After one quarter, the Bulldogs led by three, then went up by eight in the second quarter. The Bears answered, tying the game at 27 points going into the half. The game was tight in the second half, with a tied score midway through the fourth and single points separating the teams for the remainder of the game.
Each team struggled with turnovers thanks to both defensive play by the opposition and unforced errors.
“Coach Mallow’s kids are always very well coached,” said Cabool head coach Brad Shockley. “They did a good job and executed late when they needed to, and we didn’t. We made a couple of good defensive stops, and then we would come down and turn the ball over. We had some silly turnovers and missed our free throws, and when you miss your free throws you lose ball games.”
Cabool’s Tanner Barnes and Willow’s Tyler Figley each had 19 points, followed closely by Colton Hensley with 18 for the Bulldogs.
“We are getting better,” said Coach Mallow. “That was a team that came in here 15-5 and we were able to win it, and that speaks to two things, I think; it speaks to our continued improvement and I think it speaks to the strength of our schedule. For a school our size, we’ve been kind of punched in the mouth by bigger schools, so it’s kind of nice to get back to schools our size. We can compete at this level, we just have to play a little better, and they are working at that.”
Scoring for the Bulldogs: Jonathan Smith, 6; Caleb Manning, 5; Bailey Williams, 2; Dylan Medley, 3; Duncan Green, 4; Colton Hensley, 18, and Tanner Barnes, 19.
Scoring for Willow Springs: Ty Durnell, 3; Kobe Coatney, 5; Ryan Thompkins, 3; Sam Chaney, 4; Landon Rodgers, 11; Bryce Duddridge, 13; and Tyler Figley, 19.