Posted: Wednesday, 26 December 2012 11:14PM

Bolivar gets by Mansfield



Springfield, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com)  -- Being the fourth-seeded team in the Gold Division of the 67th Annual Blue and Gold Tournament, Bolivar was expected to handle the opposing team, Mansfield. A sluggish start by both teams resulted in a defensive battle for a majority of the contest. Ultimately, Bolivar (8-1) pulled away for a 56-46 first round victory.

From the early moments of the game, Bolivar knew they had a strong inside-outside game. Senior Evan Roberts, a 6’7 center, is a dominating force inside for the Liberators.

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Early in the contest though, Bolivar attempted to stretch Mansfield’s defense by hoisting 3-point attempts. Cold shooting by the Liberators resulted in a lack of scoring and the opportunity for the Lions to keep within striking distance.

“We didn’t play with much life or intensity,” Bolivar head coach Robby Hoegh said. “I don’t think we played hard like we are capable of doing.”

Sophomore center Jacob Caruso was the one given the task of battling with Roberts in the paint. Caruso held his own against the taller opponent, scoring six of Mansfield’s eight first-quarter points. The battle between Caruso and Evans was a tough-fought, gritty match in the paint. Being similar in style and scoring, the matchup showed that the play of the guards would be the determining factor in who won the game.

Senior Carter Quirk and junior Dalton McNeil combined for only seven points in the first half, but outside of Caruso, they were the only players from Mansfield able to find the bottom of the net.

Meanwhile for Bolivar, junior Coday Garrison made two 3-pointers in the first half en route to an eight-point first half, and 14-point game performance. Junior Chance Rash added five points of his own in the first half, including a 3-pointer just before the buzzer sounded to signal the end of the second quarter. Rash’s 3 gave Bolivar a five-point advantage heading into the locker room for halftime.

“We want to be able to rebound and push the ball up the floor,” Hoegh said. “However, it just got into real methodical and not very aggressive game. We didn’t feel we played hard and were fortunate to have that five point lead.”

Returning from half, Bolivar had the plan to shut down Caruso and force the Lions’ guards to win the game for Mansfield. Quirk and fellow senior Caleb Jones combined for 10 points in the third period, but couldn’t match the scoring being produced by the Liberators. Bolivar scored 21 points in the third quarter, compared to only 11 by Mansfield. Now with a 15-point cushion, Bolivar felt more accustom to their style of play, up-tempo, in transition, and forcing turnovers.

Roberts and Garrison continued to produce solid scoring numbers in the second half, as Roberts finished tied for a game-high 16 points and Garrison right behind him with 14 points. Rash also scored in double figures, totaling 11 points in the contest.

Caruso was only one of two Lions to break the double-figure scoring barrier, finishing the game with a team-high 16 points. Quirk added 11 points from the point guard position for Mansfield, but his scoring efforts proved not to be enough to contend with those of Bolivar.

Bolivar will advance to the second round of the tournament tomorrow, as they face Reeds Spring at JQH Arena at 6:30. With the loss, Mansfield falls into the consolation bracket where they will face Clever at 6:30 in Hammons Student Center.

Bolivar Scoring: Evan Roberts 16, Coday Garrison 14, Chance Rash 11, Tim Lovell 5, Devin Archer 4, Bryce Krueger 2, Drew Legan 2, Bradley Wolf 2
Mansfield Scoring: Jacob Caruso 16, Carter Quirk 11, Caleb Jones 7, Dalton McNeil 7, Kyle Elliott 3

Filed Under :  
Topics : BolivarMansfieldMen's Basketball
People : Carter QuirkJacob CarusoRobby Hoegh
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