Falcons’ comeback gets boxed out

Boys basketball: Foothills loses close one to Bulldogs in exhibition game

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 05, 2014 06:00 am

Foothills Falcon Morgan Burbank rises for a shot over Sir Winston Churchill Bulldog Glen Yang Jan. 30 at the Comp. The Bulldogs won the exhibition game 74-69.
Foothills Falcon Morgan Burbank rises for a shot over Sir Winston Churchill Bulldog Glen Yang Jan. 30 at the Comp. The Bulldogs won the exhibition game 74-69.
Bruce Campbell/OWW

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The Foothills Falcons had a performance last week which would have been fine for their final exams, but it wasn’t quite good enough when playing a top team in Alberta.

The Falcons played well for about 85 per cent of the game, but they needed a 100-per-cent effort in their 74-69 loss to the 4A ranked Winston Churchill Bulldogs from Calgary Jan. 30 at the Comp.

“We came out slow defensively in the second half,” said Falcons head coach Amron Gwilliam. “They (Churchill) stepped up their game and we didn’t. We didn’t rotate defensively, we didn’t close out on shooters and we stopped boxing out. We boxed out so well in the first half and I don’t think they had any second chance points.

“In the second half, they got offensive rebound after offensive rebound.”

The Falcons appeared they had no rust in the first half in what was their first game since the Sugar Bowl in late December.

They led by as much as 10 points in the opening 20 minutes. Churchill whittled away at the advantage and were able to cut the lead to 39-37 when Churchill’s Sam Kerber canned a three-point shot with less than five seconds in the first half.

However, the Falcons would go into the locker room at half-time with a five-point lead when Foothills’ Jamie Derochie launched a shot from behind the half-court line that hit nothing but net to make it 42-37 at the half.

“That is the first one of those I have hit in a while,” Derochie said after the game.

The Bulldogs took advantage of some Falcons early second-half miscues and grabbed the lead for good at 47-46 midway through the third quarter.

The Bulldogs would build up a 62-54 lead early in the fourth quarter. Foothills would inch to within one when Falcon Noah Wilkie hit a jump shot with 4:28 remaining, which was closely followed by a Derochie free throw to close the gap to 68-67.

The Bulldogs would extend their lead to 72-67, but the Falcons made it a one-possession game when Anthony Cayetano made a spectacular underneath-the-basket, reverse-layup to give Foothills life at 72-69 with 23 seconds left.

Foothills was forced to foul, and got a break when the Bulldog shooter missed both times. Then the box-out bugaboo hit the Falcons.

The Bulldogs’ Derian Valdes was virtually untouched as he grabbed the rebound off the second missed free-throw. The Falcons then fouled him and the Bulldog sharpshooter got them both to secure the 74-69 victory.

“That was the story of the whole second half,” Gwilliam said. “We didn’t box out and we didn’t execute what we wanted to do in the second half.”

Valdes, who led the ‘Dogs with 23 points which including five third-quarter threes, said Churchill made some adjustments at half.

“We knew that we just had to keep playing defence because we weren’t getting our shots in the first half,” Valdes said. “In the second half, my teammates were able to get me some good looks.”

The Bulldogs are an honourable mention in the 4A rankings. Valdes said Foothills is right there.

“I don’t think they are getting the credit they deserve,” he said.

Wilkie, who led the Falcons in scoring with 25 points unofficially, said the team’s rust might have caught up with them in the second half.

“We turned the ball over a lot and we were playing a lot of defence in the second half and that tired us out,” Wilkie said. “We didn’t box out as well in the second half and they had a lot of rebounds.”

The Falcons will play in the Harry Ainlay Tri-Prov basketball tournament this weekend in Edmonton opening up against a Manitoba team.

They will resume Foothills Athletic Council play on Feb. 10 when they play the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans at STS at 5:30 p.m.


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