“Unruh needed a game like this to break out and at this point in the season we need him to score a lot of points,” said Branson coach Brian McTague. “Give credit to his teammates for getting him open; they set some good screens. It is not unexpected, he can do that and hopefully this is just the beginning of a good run he is getting himself on.”
The key stretch came in the fourth quarter, where the Pirates outscored the Wildcats 18-4.
The Pirates kept Logan-Rogersville from scoring until the last three minutes of the fourth quarter. Marcus Gorman was fouled behind the arc, but only made one of the free throws. With less than two minutes left, Justus Boever hit a three, cutting Branson’s lead 67-58. The Wildcats were unable to score again.
“Branson kind of turned it up a bit and we may have ran out of gas a little bit,” said Rogersville coach Rod Gorman. “We did struggle in the fourth quarter and it definitely cost us.”
Branson (12-5) led throughout most of the first quarter, holding an 8-2 advantage at one point. The Wildcats (6-6) started to gain momentum and took a 13-11 lead with two minutes to go. With less than a minute to go, Branson’s Unruh and Chandler Hall scored to give the Pirates a 15-13 lead.
During the second quarter, Branson and Rogersville continued a physical battle where the lead changed 13 times. At just under six minutes the score was tied at 20. The Pirates’ Chandler scored to take the lead, but the Wildcats’ Aaron Freeman knocked down a three to give them a one point advantage.
“I thought we played very well for three quarters, but basketball is 32 minutes and you have to finish,” said Rod Gorman. “I thought we did some really good things, maybe the best all year. We just didn’t have enough to finish.”
Then Branson’s Unruh hit a 3, but Rogersville’s Marcus Gorman hit the same shot on the next play to give the Wildcats a 26-25 lead. The next play Unruh drained another 3 and, a few plays later, hit two free throws to give the Pirates a 30-26 lead.
“We started off good offensively, but we didn’t guard well,” said McTague. “You have to give credit to Rogersville, they made a lot shots in the first-half. Overall, we got into some foul trouble early and had to fight through some adversity. I thought our kids fought hard.”
The Pirates' Kendall Willard hit a shot, but it was countered by another from Boever. Meldley hit another set of free throws and Ben Vinyard knocks down a shot to give the Wildcats a 39-34 lead. Branson’s Michael Prince hit a shot at the buzzer to make the score 39-36 at half.
The third quarter was another aggressive attack by both teams, but Branson’s defense stepped up and was able to get several steals which turned into easy baskets by Da’Quan Ervin.
Logan-Rogersville kept the lead for most of the third quarter, allowing Branson to tie the score once. Then the Pirates were able to pull ahead with just over a minute to go after Unruh made two sets of free throws and Chandler hit a jumper making the score 53-52. Ervin got an easy lay-up before the Wildcats Meldley scored, cutting the lead back to one.
Branson 73, Logan-Rogersville 58
Logan-Rogersville 13 26 15 4
Thatch Unruh 35, Chandler Hall 16, Da’Quan Ervin 13
Justus Boever 17, Marcus Gorman 14, Aaron Freeman 11, Corbin Meldley 11