Chieftains rally late, but fall to BuchananPublished 7:44am Wednesday, February 1, 2012
While all eyes were on Dowagiac’s Dontel Highsmith and Buchanan’s Jalen Brown, it was the Bucks’ Justin Henderson who came up big Tuesday night.
Henderson went end-to-end to score the game-winning basket with 12 seconds remaining to give Bucahnan a 70-68 victory over the Chieftains in a classic boys basketball confrontation.
The Bucks, who led by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, couldn’t hold off Dowagiac in the game’s final eight minutes.
The Chieftains (10-3) came roaring back in the fourth quarter and tied the game at 68-68 on a pair of Highsmith free throws with 17.6 seconds remaining.
Henderson then took the inbounds pass and went the length of the court for the game winner.
“We put that play in last Thursday,” Buchanan coach Reid McBeth said. “I had seen them use man-to-man fullcourt pressure. I figured if we could get the ball to Jalen in the middle, we’d have a 3-on-2 break. But Justin has the ability to do a lot of things for us. And I’m glad he took it to the basket because even if he missed, he’d probably have been fouled. And he would have hit the free throws.”
Henderson scored 10 of his 13 points in the final period.
The play worked to perfection and kept the Bucks from heading to overtime or being saddled with a loss that would have ruined a solid performance on the night.
“Our defense didn’t get the job done,” Dowagiac coach Danum Hunt said. “Anytime you allow a man to take the ball from one end of the floor to the other untouched for a basket, that’s terrible. We had bad rotations all night and let guys drive the baseline on us. Plus, we were outrebounded.”
The Bucks held a 41-33 advantage in the rebounding department.
Buchanan was playing without standout guard Savon Brown, who was sidelined with a knee injury that was sustained in gym class. Brown should return for Friday night’s contest.
The Bucks (10-2) barely missed a beat. Jalen Brown dominated the first half of play for Buchanan, especially in the second quarter when he scored 13 of his team-high 25 points. Brown also had 13 rebounds, six assists and three blocks.
After both teams scored 15 points in the opening quarter, Buchanan was able to open up a 37-30 advantage by halftime behind the play of Brown.
The Chieftains were unable to cut into that advantage in the third quarter and still trailed by seven, 51-44, as the teams headed to the fourth.
Dowagiac erupted for 24 points in the final eight minutes, but couldn’t put the Bucks away. The Chieftains erased the seven-point advantage in the first two minutes of the quarter as they outscored the Bucks 9-1.
Tyler Clark’s 3-pointer with 6:05 remaining in the contest gave Dowagiac a 53-52 advantage. The Chieftains quickly made it a six-point advantage when Highsmith came up with a steal and a dunk with 4:55 showing on the clock.
Buchanan then battled back.
The Bucks tied the game at 63-63 on a Henderson free throw, but Highsmith went to the basket to give Dowagiac a 65-63 advantage with 1:33 left.
The Bucks tied the game Brown’s 3-pointer 15 seconds later gave Buchanan a 66-65 advantage before Highsmith’s free throw knotted the game again at 66-66. Two Henderson free throws made it 68-66 with 32.8 ticks left on the clock and set the stage for the dramatic finish.
“When you don’t play a full 32 minutes, you’re not going to win against a scrappy team like Buchanan,” Hunt said. “We had guys take quarters off. We had other guys take the whole game off. You can’t win when that happens.”
Besides the 38 points that Brown and Henderson scored, the Bucks also got 11 points from Dustin Jones.
Highsmith finished with 28 points, while Eric Charles added 14 and Craig Zebell 10.
Kevin Dey 1 0-0 2, Dallis Reynolds 4 0-1 8, Jalen Brown 9 6-8 25, Justin Henderson 4 4-6 13, Lyman Thomas 1 0-0 2, Doug Freeman 2 2-2 6, Dustin Jones 5 1-3 11, Tyler Flynn 1 0-0 3. TOTALS 27 13-20 70
Brendon Murray 2 1-3 7, Davion Highsmith 0 0-0 0, Eric Charles 5 4-5 14, Tyler Clark 2 2-2 7, Dontel Highsmith 9 10-13 28, Gavin Taylor 1 0-2 2, Craig Zebell 3 3-4 10, Joseph Pasternak 0 0-0 0, Todd McIntyre 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 22 20-29 68
Buchanan 15 37 51 70
Dowagiac 15 30 44 68
3-point baskets: Buchanan 3 (Henderson 1, J. Brown 1, Flynn 1), Dowagiac 4 (Murray 2, Clark 1, Zebell 1). Total fouls (fouled out): Buchanan 22 (Reynolds), Dowagiac 17. Dowagiac 11. J.V. score: Buchanan 47, Dowagiac 37. Varsity records: Buchanan 10-2, Dowagiac 10-3