Barnesville comes up short at Buckeye Trail, 75-73
OLD WASHINGTON — Ronnie Rominger’s last inclusion in the play-by play Friday night was a defensive rebound.
It was more than a simple carom. It was a game-saver.
Rominger’s two-handed board as time expired clinched Buckeye Trail’s 75-73 boys’ basketball victory against Barnesville and squashed the Shamrocks’ hopes of completing an epic rally before a raucous crowd inside Buckeye Trail High School.
The Warriors grabbed the lead early in the second quarter and held it the rest of the night in evening the season series between the two teams. But as the game went along, Barnesville chipped away at it many times, most potently in the closing moments when a 10-point deficit became a one-possession game with under a minute left.
Barnesville (7-5) drained five 3s in the fourth, including three by Luke Powell, who had another normal night, scoring a game-high 33 points behind nine bonus bombs.
Powell’s trey made the score 69-64 with 1:30 left. Forced to foul, the Warriors got the ball in the hands of their go-to guy — Branden Barnett. Already 4 of 4 from the line in the fourth and 5 of 5 for the game, the senior, who finished with 30 points of his own, drained two shots from the stripe with 1:26 left making the score 71-64.
Ayden Hannahs quickly made it a 71-67 game with 1:12 left with a 3 of his own. Moments later, Barnesville stole the ball in the Trail forecourt and Colton Hines made it pay off at other end with a layup that made the score 71-69 with 53.2 ticks left.
Following a timeout, Barnesville was forced to foul again and, again, sent Barnett to the line. He made both shots, pushing Trail’s lead back to four, 73-69, with 30.1 seconds left.
Evan Hudson came up clutch with 19 ticks left when his trey dropped through making it a one-point affair. Barnett went to the line again with 14.5 left and converted both shots making the score 75-72.
Needing a 3, Barnesville got the ball in the hands of of Powell. He missed a shot from the right wing, then came up empty on another way above the top of the key.
Trail got the rebound and appeared to have things in hand with 2.3 left. But an offensive foul was called on the Warriors before the ball was inbounded, giving the ‘Rocks another shot. Powell got the ball on the inbounds, but was quickly fouled and sent to the line for a 1-and-1 with 0.9 left. He made the first, but intentionally missed the second, with the ball falling into Rominger’s hands.
Trail head coach Drew Meister said his team was certainly playing with fire allowing Powell so many opportunities toward the end, but was pleased his team toughed it out.
“You have to try to spend a lot of energy on him defensively and, hopefully, the next guy doesn’t step up and be the hero.”
Barnett was the Warriors’ hero, going perfect from the line, including the perfect mark in the fourth.
“You certainly have confidence that he’ll make opportunities like that,” Meister said. “It’s nice to see.”
While success at the line helped seal Trail’s win, troubles at the stripe, especially early stymied the Shamrocks. They were 6 of 20 on the night, including 5 of 15 in the first half. That coincided with a 12-4 run that gave Trail control.
“You can’t go on the road in an environment like this and not make your foul shots and expect to win a close game,” Barnesville head coach Matt Johnson said.
“We had a chance to make foul shots there and get a lead. We play better with a lead.”
As it was the Warriors surged and answered every Shamrock run with one of their own. Barnesville closed to within two — 40-38 — early in the third, but a 12-4 Trail surge erased any Barnesville momentum.
“Our guys really wanted this and they weren’t satisfied with the halftime lead we had,” Meister said. “We know how potent they are.”
Zach Grafton and Jack Parry added 17 and 15 points, respectively, for Trail.
Tate Dowler scored 15 for Barnesville before fouling out with 2:51 left.
“I have to give our team credit because I don’t think a couple of years ago they’d fight back like this and give themselves an opportunity to win,” Johnson said. “(Trail) is a good team that plays in a good conference (IVC).
“It’s tough to play here and I’m proud of our guys and how they fought back.”