CALDWELL — Trailing by 15 at home with about two minutes left in the third quarter, Caldwell High coach Clint Crane decided it was time for some strategy adjustments.
For starters, the Redskins began to attack the basket instead of settling for so many outside shots. Secondly, their full court pressure began to speed up the opposition. That combination of tactical changes combined to pave the way for the hosts to capture a come-from-behind, 68-64 overtime win over Barnesville on Friday night.
Ironically, it was Barnesville’s pressure in the third period’s early stages which vaulted the ‘Rocks into a seemingly safe 49-34 lead.
“I thought the turning point of the game came late in the third,” said Shamrock coach Chris Pack. “If we had finished the third period strong, I think we would have been able to keep them at arm’s length.”
Caldwell (2-5) closed the third frame with a 7-1 run to close their deficit to nine, at 50-41 by period’s end. Having seized the momentum, the hosts pressured Barnesville into eight fourth quarter turnovers. The result was an 18-9 advantage for Caldwell in the final period which knotted the contest at 59-59 at the end of regulation.
The final few moments were not without tension.
Barnesville (4-4) actually led 59-55 with :30 seconds left. On the ensuing Caldwell possession, Redskin Jonathon Wiechman was fouled while driving to the bucket. His shot missed, but he fell to the floor with leg cramps. Following a short delay, Crane was faced with having to designate a free throw shooter for Wiechman. Crane settled on Jack Ridenour, who had not, as yet, made an appearance in the game. In fact, he was just 2-of-8 from the line in the jayvee game.
No matter. The freshman swished both charity tosses, closing the gap to 59-57.
With Wiechman, now “crampless,” due to return, Caldwell still needed a small miracle. Which is just what Barnesville provided by muffing the inbounds pass following the second Ridenour free throw, then missing four consecutive free throws, even one of which could have put the contest into their win column.
Following the fourth missed charity toss, Caldwell rebounded and moved to the offense, where Tanner Clark was fouled. He calmly drained both ends of a one-and-one to deadlock the game at 59-59 with just under :04 seconds left. A half court heave by Barnesville at the buzzer failed to draw iron.
Overtime belonged to Wiechman, who continually took the ball into the lane at the offensive end. He made two field goals and five free throws in the extra session to account for all of Caldwell’s scoring. Barnesville managed just five points in OT.
While elated with the win, Crane stated that his team is still looking for maturity. “We only played well in the fourth period and in the overtime,” he admitted. “Their switching defenses caused us problems. We just have to continue to try to develop consistency. And right now, our perimeter shooting is hurting us.
The stat sheet told that story. Caldwell made just 33 percent of its action shots for the game and that included a dismal 3-of-22 effort from beyond the arc.
Wiechman finished with 20 points to pace the Caldwell scoring, despite pretty much disappearing in the first half with a pair of personal fouls. Joining the junior in doubles were Clark and Tanner Baker, with 17 and 10, respectively. That trio of leading scorers also combined to haul down two dozen of the team’s 33 rebounds.
The Redskins finished 19-of-29 from the line and were whistled for 15 turnovers.
Barnesville shot well from the floor, at 25-of-51, but lost the game at the line with a 12-of-29 effort. Brandon Burkhart’s 21 markers led all scorers. Teammate Zach Houston added 15. That duo also combined to grab 19 of the ‘Rocks 42 rebounds. Barnesville finished with 20 turnovers. Dylan MacMillan recorded five steals.
“We can look at about a hundred different things we would have liked to do differently in a loss like this,” Barnesville’s Pack mused, “but the bottom line is that we have to focus better, become more consistent and learn how to close teams out.”
NEXT — Barnesville is at Shadyside Friday. Jayvee action is set for 6 p.m.
CALDWELL 68, BARNESVILLE 64 (OT)
Jacob Anderson 4-7 1-4 9, Brandon Burkhart 10-15 0-5 21, Dylan MacMillan 2-9 4-0 8, Brian Clark 1-5 1-2 3, David Stewart 0-0 0-0 0, Isaac McGee 3-7 1-2 8, Zach Houston 5-8 5-7 15. Totals 25-51 12-29 64.
Caldwell (2-5 )
Tanner Harding 2-16 0-0 6, Jonathon Wiechman 6-16 8-13, 20, Jack Ridenour 0-0 2-2 2, Caleb Heller 1-4 0-0 3, Justin Figel 3-5 0-0 6, Tanner Clark 5-12 7-10 17, Tanner Baker 4-7 2-2 10, Daniel Leasure 2-3 0-2 4. Totals 23-62 19-29.
Barnesville 11 17 22 9 5 — 64
Caldwell 11 15 15 18 9 — 68
Three point goals—BHS 2 (McGee 1, Burkhart 1); CHS 3 (Harding 2, Heller 1). Rebounds—BHS 42 (Burkhart 10, Houston 9); CHS 33 (Baker 10, Wiechman 7, Clark 7). Steals—BHS 9 (MacMillan 5); CHS 9 (Harding 3). Blocked Shots—BHS 3 (Burkhart 2); CHS 1 (Baker 1). Fouls—BHS 22; CHS 22. Fouled Out—BHS (Clark); CHS (none). Turnovers—BHS 20; CHS 15.