Salado misses opportunity for return trip to Region tournament
The Salado Eagles can’t complain that they didn’t have the opportunity to earn a return trip to Nacogdoches for the 2A Region III basketball tournament this weekend, losing to Marlin 51-50.
They can complain about some of the calls, or lack thereof, but when it came down to it in the waning seconds of their region quarterfinal game against the Marlin Bulldogs Feb. 25, it came down to which team took advantage of the opportunities afforded it.
The Eagles missed theirs at the free throw line and in the paint in those final crucial seconds as the Bulldogs closed the gap and took the lead 51-50 with a dozen seconds left in the game.
Even with a handful of seconds left, the Eagles could not put the ball in the basket, missing two shots after calling a time out with just under 5 seconds left in the game. The timeout came after Marlin’s Paul Humphrey hit a two-pointer with 12 seconds left to give Marlin a 51-50 lead.
With a minute left in the game, Salado led Marlin by three points, 50-47, but Kase Spears could not hit either of the 1-and-1 opportunities given him.
Marlin spent most of the game chasing the Eagles. Spears and Preston Rosebrock hit three pointers in the final two minutes of the first quarter to help the Eagles close a five-point lead and take a 21-19 edge at the end of the first.
Marlin stayed closed throughout the second with the Eagles taking a 31-28 lead to the lockers.
Salado stretched their lead to 8 points in the first minute of the third, but Marlin kept coming back, tying the game at 40-40 with 46 seconds left in the quarter on a two pointer by Humphrey.
Knotted at 42-42 in the fourth, the teams played fast and rough, turning the ball over to each other and committing fouls along the way. Marlin got clipped for 16 fouls and the Eagles for 11 in the game. The Bulldogs made five of their eight free throws while the Eagles made six of nine free throws.
Dane Hankamer led Salado with 21 points, including two three-pointers. Kole Hearne followed with 12 points. Preston Rosebrock scored 9 points, all beyond the arc in the first half.
Also scoring for Salado were Kase Spears, 3 points, Heiner and Tyler Ramthun, 2 points each and Chris Deal, 1 point.
Humphrey led Marlin with 21 points, followed by Marquise Womack, 12 points, Dominique Bailey, 9 points, Devlon Noble, 4 points and Moses Scott, 2 points.
Junior Kole Hearne turned in one of his best career performances with 21 points to lead the Salado Eagles past the Hempstead Bobcats 80-65 in the Area round of the 2A basketball playoffs on Feb. 21 in Giddings.
The Eagles had trouble with Hempstead’s powerful post Fred Tompkins, who scored 28 points in the game including the first two for the Bobcats to tie the game at 2-2. The Eagles then went on an 11-point run over the next five minutes and held on to lead 19-10 at the end of the first quarter.
The Eagles defense never let the Bobcats get closer than 5 points over the rest of the game. Salado led by 15 at the half, 42-27.
At the end of the third, Salado held a 21-point margin, 64-43.
In a game that was more than a little aggressively played on both sides, the teams combined for 40 fouls. Salado committed 16 and Hempstead 24. The Eagles converted the opportunities into 25 points on 35 attempts. Hempstead converted 13 of their 17 attempts.
Hankamer followed Hearne, scoring 17 points.
Heiner had a terrific night, scoring 16 points while Tyler Ramthun had 12 points and 8 rebounds.
Preston Rosebrock scored 10 points and Kase Spears added 4 points.
Scoring for the Bobcasts were these: Tompkins, 28 points, Demario Perez, 17 points, Will Smith, 4 points, Deondre Lee and Ko’Dirrus Boulds, 3 points each and Adam Banks 2 points.