A different kind of halftime adjustment paid big dividends for the host Barnesville High Shamrocks, who rallied for a 75-67 victory over the Union Local Jets on Tuesday.
Trailing by a 40-31 margin at the intermission, Barnesville coach Chris Pack didn’t make a strategic X & O adjustment, it was just a simple message to his charges... “slow down”.
“We talked about just slowing down a bit on defense at halftime,” Pack explained. “We were playing with a lot of energy in the first half, but we were flying around so much we ended up out of position on defense. That led to some easy baskets for them. We did a much better job in the second half and it paid off for us.
“That along with I think we were still stinging a little from the Monroe Central loss and not playing with much confidence in that first half,” Pack said. “Once we got the confidence going, we played much better, especially in the second half.”
Led by senior Brandon Burkhart, the ‘Rocks quickly chipped away at the Jets’ lead in the opening minutes of the second half. A free throw from Burkhart at the 5:52 mark cut the Barnesville deficit to 44-37 and the rally was on.
Barnesville ended the period with a 15-6 run to deadlock the contest at 52-52 entering the fourth stanza. Led by Burkhart’s 11-point frame, the host ‘Rocks used a 21-12 scoring edge in the quarter to pull things even after three quarters.
Burkhart finished with a monster 28-point night despite missing several in close looks in the first half on an 11-of-20 shooting effort.
“I tell you what, if Brandon would have made some of those short bunnies, he might have had 50 tonight,” Pack said, “but like the leader he is, he kept battling and starting finishing stronger and making his shots count in that second half. He came up with a big performance for us tonight.”
Defense was another key component in the huge third quarter rally for Barnesville as the ‘Rocks’ defense harassed the Jets into 12 turnovers in the frame.
“I really like the way we played in that second half,” Pack said. “We really got after them on defense in that third quarter and forced quite a few turnovers which we were able to convert into baskets.”
In the fourth quarter, it was the duo of Burkhart and junior Brian Clark with six points each who led the ‘Rocks 23-15 scoring edge to pull out the victory.
“It feels good to be 3-3 right now,” Pack said. “A lot of people thought we’d be 0-6 at this point, so it’s nice to prove some people wrong. We have a big home game with Bellaire on Friday. I would love to get that one and head into the Christmas break at 4-3.”
In addition to Burkhart’s big night, the ‘Rocks got a double-double performance out of junior Zach Houston with 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
“Zach is just a real banger inside. He’s not the biggest kid but he works his tail off,” Pack said. “He just has that knack at finding the ball and then he can finish around the basket.”
Clark finished with double figure support with 13 markers for Barnesville, while junior Issac McGee adding nine and senior Dylan MacMillan added seven points along with three assists and three steals.
Union Local (2-3) was led in scoring by Jacob Bailey with 23 points, including a trio of three-point makes, while Trenton Tipton chipped in with 16 points off the bench and Eric Dunfee just missed double figures with nine.
Barnesville finished with a slim 36-34 rebounding edge with Burkhart pulling down nine, MacMilland and Clark each added five to team with Houston’s game-high 10. Collin Jones ripped down nine for the Jets, with Tipton adding eight.
BARNESVILLE 75, UNION LOCAL 67
Union Local (2-3)
Kaleb McDiffitt 1-7 3-4 5, Trenton Tipton 5-8 4-7 16, Eric Dunfee 2-10 3-4 9, Collin Jones 4-5 0-1 8, Gavin Porter 2-7 1-2 6, Jacob Bailey 7-16 6-6 23. Totals 21-54 17-24 67.
Jacob Anderson 0-3 1-4 1, Brandon Burkhart 11-20 4-7 28, Dylan MacMillan 2-12 3-6 7, Brian Clark 5-11 1-2 13, Issac McGee 2-8 4-7 9, Zach Houston 7-11 1-2 17, David Stewart 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-66 14-29 75.
Union Local 16 24 12 15 — 67
Barnesville 15 16 21 23 — 75
Three point goals—ULHS 8 (Bailey 3, Tipton 2, Dunfee 2, Porter 1); BHS 3 (Clark 2, McGee 1). Rebounds—ULHS 34 (Jones 9, Tipton 8); BHS 36 (Houston 10, Burkhart 9, MacMillan 5, Clark 5). Assists—ULHS 10 (McDiffitt 4, Bailey 4); BHS 7 (MacMillan 3, Burkhart 2). Steals—ULHS 6 (McDiffitt 3); BHS 9 (MacMillan 3, Burkhart 2). Blocked Shots—ULHS 1 (Bailey 1); BHS 0. Fouls—ULHS 19; BHS 19. Fouled Out—none. Turnovers—ULHS 24; BHS 19.