Spearman’s Jack Pipkin goes up over two Bushland defenders during a District 1-3A contest at the Bushland Gym on Tuesday night. [Tom Carver/ Press Pass Sports]
By Lee Passmore
It wasn’t the most tidy or artistic of outcomes when Bushland hosted Spearman in a showdown to determine the outright boys leader in District 1-3A on Tuesday night.
But that didn’t mean the game lacked for tension or excitement, as there was plenty of both to go around for four quarters – and then some.
Keeping with the NFL playoff theme of coming down to the very end, it was no surprise that Spearman and Bushland needed an extra period to decide things. It was decided when Spearman reeled off nine straight points to take control in overtime for a 41-36 victory and sole possession of the district lead.
Both teams were plagued by cold spells throughout which kept the score low. But the Lynx (15-4, 4-0 in district) had two good runs in overtime and the fourth quarter which put them over the top.
“We had two really good defensive teams,” Spearman coach Dustin Klafka said. “it was a physical basketball game. You had guys going to the rim and bouncing off of each other. Shots we had going to the rim we didn’t hit which we usually hit. You’ve got to defend in district.”
Both teams did that in regulation, which resulted in a 32-32 tie to force the extra period. Bushland (9-9, 3-1) got the upper hand in overtime as Aiden Sawyer scored on the first possession to give the Falcons a 34-32 lead.
But Spearman answered back in rather improbable fashion considering the lack of offense in the game. Cason Mackie banked in a 3-pointer to give the Lynx a lead they would never relinquish at 35-34.
Mackie then scored again to make it 37-34 to start the 9-0 run, and Bushland couldn’t answer.
“We needed some points and I saw an opportunity to let it go,” Mackie said. “Thankfully it went in. Sometimes luck is on your side so you just put it up there. I’m not going to lie, it felt good and I thought it would go in.”
Shad Whitely made two free throws, then Jack Pipkin, who had a game-high 16 points, scored inside to make it 41-34, Spearman’s biggest lead of the game. Bushland’s Breckan Reed broke the streak with a bucket, but it was far too little too late.
Bushland coach Kendall Cogburn said that playing the Lynx was like the Falcons playing themselves, and the result proved that.
“I feel like both teams were pretty similar,” Cogburn said. “Both teams have a lot of juniors and sophomores, but both teams competed hard. It shows on the defensive end. Both teams were locked in defensively. We didn’t shoot the ball as well as we’d like, but a lot of that’s due to Spearman.”
The first half was what would be expected from two teams who were undefeated in district and fighting for the district lead. Nobody was able to break away as the Falcons held a 22-21 halftime lead.
Bushland scored the first six points of the second half to take a 28-21 lead, but that was the apex of the game for the Falcons, who had a hard time finding the basket the rest of the way.Spearman would score the next 11 points on a run bridging the third and fourth quarters and took a 32-28 lead.
“(The Lynx) handled it inside a little bit better than us and finished better,” Cogburn said. “It was definitely a very physical game.”
Reed converted a three-point play, then with 37 seconds left, Baylor King hit one of two free throws to tie it at 32, eventually forcing overtime.
Sawyer was the only scorer in double figures for Bushland with 10 points. Mackie had 10 for Spearman.
Spearman 12 21 25 32 41
Bushland 11 22 28 32 36
S— Jack Pipkin 16, Cason Mackie 10. B— Aiden Sawyer 10, Baylor King. Records: Spearman 15-4, 4-0. Bushland 9-9, 3-1.