NATE FARNHAM drives to the hoop in action against Farmington on Jan. 21. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
January 29, 2014ALTON — Despite not having tons of varsity experience and a minimal amount of height, the Prospect Mountain hoop boys have battled all year and are consistently coming up on the right side of the scoreboard.
They've done that through hard work on defense and leaning on their leaders.
They did just that on Tuesday, Jan. 21, but this time, the deficit was just too much and the Timber Wolves dropped a 52-49 decision to Farmington.
The game marked the first time the Timber Wolves played on their home court since mid-December and the Tigers came to town for a rematch of an early season game, which was won by Farmington.
"It was just too big of a hole for us to get out of," coach Tom Bourdeau said. "We battled, but it was just too big a lead to give a team, any team.
"And Farmington's a good team," the Timber Wolf coach continued. "They play hard."
The Timber Wolves found themselves down by nine points after three, but came charging back and cut the lead to three late in the fourth, and then to two when senior Logan LaRoche drilled a three-pointer with eight seconds to go.
The Timber Wolves appeared to control their destiny when they forced a turnover on Farmington's ensuing inbounds play, but the Timber Wolves turned it over just seconds later on the same play. Farmington hit a free throw and LaRoche's long three at the buzzer was off the mark, allowing the Tigers to escape with the 52-49 win.
"That last inbounds play, it was there," Bourdeau said. "I don't know why we didn't' get it executed.
"To me it looked like it was there," he added.
LaRoche kicked off the game with the first basket, but the Tigers answered with six points in a row to take the four-point lead. Nate Farnham hit two from the line to cut the lead to two before the Tigers hit another basket.
Hoops from Dylan Tiede and LaRoche tied the game at eight with just more than a minute to go in the first. However, the Tigers hit two free throws to close out the quarter with a 10-8 lead.
LaRoche came out with the hot hand to open the second quarter, as he hit a three-pointer and then put in two more hoops to put the Timber Wolves to a 15-10 lead.
Farmington bounced back by hitting 11 points in a row, including six from the free throw line, retaking the lead at 21-15.
LaRoche ended the Tiger run with a hoop and a hoop from Tiede and a free throw from Zach Robertson helped the Timber Wolves close the half on a 5-0 run to cut the gap to 21-20 heading to the second half.
A Tiede steal and hoop to open the second half put Prospect up 22-21, but the Tigers answered with a free throw and a three-pointer to put the Tigers up by three.
Robertson hit a hoop to cut the lead to one, but the Tigers answered again, hitting the next eight points (four baskets) to push the lead to 33-24.
LaRoche drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to six points, only to see the Tigers hit a hoop and a free throw for another nine-point lead at 36-27. Robertson hit a hoop for the Timber Wolves, but the Tigers got the quarter's final points with a hoop to make it 38-29 heading to the fourth.
Tiede hit the first hoop of the fourth to cut the lead to seven. After a Tiger free throw, Brian Borelli put back a rebound to cut the lead to six. The Tigers got another hoop, but Prospect rallied.
Robertson hit a hoop, Farnham hit from the line and then finished off a nice feed from Robertson, cutting the lead to 41-38 with just more than three minutes to go.
After two free throws from the Tigers, Robertson hit one for Prospect. The Tigers hit three more from the line and Farnham hit two to cut the lead to five with 1:20 to go.
The Tigers hit three more hoops to push the lead to eight points before Mike Joy drained a three-pointer to cut the lead to five with one minute to go.
After another Tiger free throw, Robertson hit two free throws to cut the lead back to four with 38 seconds to go. Farmington hit another free throw, leading LaRoche to drill a three with eight seconds to go, cutting the lead to two.
Then came the two inbound play turnovers and the Tigers hit one free throw, escaping with the 52-49 win.
Bourdeau noted that his team needed to foul and had the plan in place, but he pointed out that on more than one occasion, the wrong player was fouled.
The fouls led to a major disparity in free throws, with the Timber Wolves going 10-for-12 and the Tigers going 22-for-35.
"That's your game right there," Bourdeau said. "We're not good enough to lose the free throw battle and still get the W."
The Timber Wolf mentor always expects his team to be in games, as they consistently battle.
"A lot of our games, we're going to be in," he said. "Last time we played these guys, it was a two-point game in the last few minutes."
LaRoche led the way for the Timber Wolves with 19 points, while Robertson finished with 10 for the Timber Wolves.
Prospect will be in action on Friday, Jan. 31, at home against Raymond at 6:30 p.m. On Monday, Feb. 3, they host Belmont at 6 p.m. and on Wednesday, Feb. 5, they host Sanborn at 6:30 p.m.
Prospect returned to action on Friday, Jan. 24, and dropped a 45-37 decision on the road at Campbell.
"This was a good game for us on the defensive end, very pleased with our effort on D," Bourdeau said. "Campbell's a very good club that just came off a big win over Conant."
The Timber Wolves actually held the Cougars to 10 points fewer than they scored when Prospect beat them earlier in the season.
"But, on offense we scored 23 points less than the first meeting," Bourdeau said, noting his team shot 28 percent. "This is something that we will be working on, as in several of our last few losses, it has been the offensive production that has killed us."
LaRoche finished with 13 points and Robertson had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
In JV action, Prospect held on for a 55-49 win over Farmington. Dylan Adjutant scored 12 points, Sam Borelli added 10 and Dillon Barnes put in nine.
LaRoche 8-0-19, Tiede 4-0-8, Joy 1-0-3, Farnham 1-5-7, Robertson 3-5-10, Borelli 1-0-2: Totals 18-10-49
Gibbs 2-0-4, Gregoire 4-2-12, Radcliffe 1-7-9, Bennett 2-2-6, Banville 0-1-1, Merkey 0-2-2, Poulin 5-8-18: Totals: 14-22-52
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or email@example.com