Buck run ends

Published 9:30 am Friday, March 26, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
EAST LANSING -- Trailing by just four points heading into the fourth quarter, the Buchanan basketball team got a taste of its own medicine in a 61-44 loss to Saginaw Buena Vista Thursday afternoon in the Class C semifinals at the Breslin Center.
The Knights (20-5) put their defense into a higher gear and opened the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run in the first four minutes. After that, Buchanan (15-12) never got closer than 11 points.
During the decisive fourth quarter, Buena Vista sophomore Tory Jackson scored 10 of his game-high 24 points.
Buchanan finally scored on a pair of free throws by Gordon Bryant with 3:49 left in the game, but managed just eight points in the final period.
The Bucks took their only lead of the game late in the third quarter. Trailing 31-25 early in the period, Tony Robinson scored on a breakaway layup and then Bryant tossed an alley-oop pass to Robinson for a dunk that cut the Knights' lead to two. A pair of free throws by Robinson tied the game at 31 apiece with 3:44 left in the third quarter and Buchanan finally went ahead on a 3-pointer by Brian Shannon with 3:20 to go.
The Bucks went ahead by three points, 36-33, before Buena Vista began its decisive run with a 7-0 spurt in the final 1:41 of the third quarter.
Buena Vista coach Chris Chaffer was surprised at how well his team responded to the Bucks' run.
Buchanan fell behind 7-0 after both teams struggled to score early in the game. The Bucks, however, never let the lead get out of control and cut the lead to 9-6 with 1:13 to go in the first quarter.
Buchanan's defense started to be more effective in the second quarter as the Knights committed nine turnovers and Buchanan cut the lead to three points on three occasions.
Shannon, who has been an offensive spark for the Bucks throughout the tournament by driving into the lane and either scoring or finding open teammates, had trouble against Buena Vista. He turned the ball over an uncharacteristic six times.
The Bucks also struggled to find post players Zack Bonham and DuJuan Bennett open in the paint.
Buena Vista senior center Schuyler Hardy dominated the boards early and finished with a game-high nine rebounds and 10 points. The Knights outrebounded Buchanan 32-15.
Bryant led the Bucks with 14 points and Shannon added 11. Robinson and Bennett each scored seven.
Buena Vista will face Charlevoix (22-5), an 85-49 winner over Kent City (24-3) in Thursday's other semifinal, at noon on Saturday in the championship game.