Tentative BGA falls 79-65
By Joe Williams, Sports Editor
BGA went into last night’s game ranked #1 in the state in Division II-A, a designation coach Len McKnatt did particularly care to have. Their opponent, Lighthouse Christian went into the game undefeated in the independent MTAC league and they were happy with the goose egg on the loss side.
Both probably feel a little better this morning.
The Lions invaded the Cherry Sports Complex at BGA last night and tamed the Wildcats 79-65, using superior height and a great deal of speed to hand BGA just their second loss of the year.
“All a ranking does is put a target on your back,” said BGA Head Coach Len McKnatt. “If anything, it makes your road more difficult.
“You never like to lose a basketball game, but we have a district game tomorrow to in the whole scheme of things, they were just better than we were last night.”
BGA struggled throughout the contest holding on to the ball and rebounding. Lighthouse’s size, averaging about three inches a man, and quickness made a huge difference.
“I thought they were a step quicker than us, and on loose balls and rebounds I thought they were a little bit tougher and quicker than we were.”
The Wildcats took an early 5-0 lead only to find themselves trailing 10-5 before the midpoint of the first quarter. By the middle part of the second quarter that led stretched to 19 before BGA went on a short run to trail at the half 39-27.
Lighthouse Christian opened the third quarter on a tear, extending the lead to 55-35 with just over a minute remaining. But the Wildcats fought back again, as Nathan Moran scored eight of his 19 points in the fourth quarter before fouling out with a minute and half to play. The run cut the lead to just less than ten with less than six minutes to play. Down 12 at the three-minute mark, BGA was forced to foul and the Lions hit 7-of-8 from the charity stripe in the last minute and a half.
“I thought our guys fought to the final horn and that’s one positive we can take away from this game.”
The game was tightly called, with each team whistled for 29 personal fouls each in a contest that never got chippy. Lighthouse lost their top two scorers, by average, to fouls plus a starting guard. BGA lost Moran and Daniel Brown in the fourth quarter. BGA hit 19-of-29 from the free throw line, while the Lions got 25 points on 32 attempts.
Most of the whistles were away from the lane,as the Wildcats failed to attack the basket early.
“We shot 29 three’s and only 24 2-point shots. But they had a lot to do with that,” said McKnatt. “They did a good job of pushing us away from the basket. We played a little bit tentatively on offense and we settled for shots instead of trying to get in there and get scores.”
Moran led all scorers with 19 points to go with three assists. Zac Wracher added 16 points and seven rebounds while Terrell Webster came off the bench to score six, but more importantly pulled down eight rebounds and blocked two shots.
BGA travels to University School of Nashville tomorrow and faces Webb School of Bell Buckle at home Tuesday in their final district game before hosting the Division II-A Middle District Tournament next weekend. BGA has a bye on Thursday night before beginning play on Friday night.
Posted on: 2/1/2014