Bucks solid from charity stripe

Published 8:03 am Thursday, March 11, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN -- The third quarter is usually the time when the Buchanan varsity basketball team puts its opponents away.
The third quarter in Wednesday night's Class C District Tournament semifinal game against Bridgman didn't appear to fit the norm as the Bees trailed by just three points midway through the period.
The Bucks, however, mounted a 9-4 run to end the quarter with a 39-31 lead and never led by less than that in the fourth quarter on their way to a 62-48 victory.
Buchanan made 16-of-19 free throws in the fourth quarter, including an 8-for-8 performance by senior Quinton Buish.
Buish was just one of the Buchanan players who fared well at the free throw line. Bridgman coach Mike Miller was counting on the Bucks' inability to make free throws and applauded their effort.
Junior Brian Shannon is a 46 percent free throw shooter and made 4-of-6 Wednesday night. Junior Gordon Bryant is a 58 percent free throw shooter and made 7-of-10 Wednesday. In all the Bucks made 20-of-26 (77 percent) from the charity stripe.
Free throws wasn't the only difference in the game, however. Bridgman committed 22 turnovers, with five of those coming in the critical third period.
Buchanan went ahead 17-8 one minute into the second quarter but the Bees fought back to within one point, 20-19, just five minutes later. Even a steal and slam dunk by Tony Robinson couldn't discourage Bridgman as Corey Kuhn made a 3-pointer on the next possession to keep the deficit at one point.
Bryant made buzzer-beating shots at the end of the first and second quarters. His first was a long 3-pointer and his second was a running jump shot in the lane to give the Bucks a three-point lead at halftime.
Shannon got the Bucks' offense going early, scoring three field goals in the first quarter. At just 5-7, Shannon showed no fear of taking the ball to the basket against Bridgman's tall front line of Kuhn (6-6), Nate Lyman (6-4) and Dan Kunde (6-4). He finished with a career-high 17 points.
Bryant led all scorers with 20 points and Buish added a double-double of 12 points and 17 rebounds for Buchanan.
McBeth wasn't entirely pleased with his team's play in the fourth quarter, when he would have liked to see more patience on offense.
Buchanan is now 11-11 on the year and will play in the championship game Saturday night at 7 p.m. against the winner of tonight's semifinal game between Brandywine and Eau Claire. Bridgman finishes the year with a record of 14-7.