• Keith Hjelle

Charger Boys Edge Panthers in 'Barnburner', 58-57

The earliest known use of the word "barnburner" to describe an exciting game or event was in a 1934 bridge game in Omaha, the description of which said, "The following hand was a real "barn-burner" which provided plenty of excitement." Today the term is often used to describe an exciting sports event or some other contest like a political race.

If you like barnburners, Friday's ACGC 58-57 win over Panorama would be very pleasing. Actually, it would probably only be pleasing to the victors, as the vanquished would likely not see it that way.

Ordinarily a game story would describe the contest from the outset to the finish, but in this case the conclusion is what is most titillating. So, let's begin with the finish.

With Panorama leading by a single point at 57-56 when Zach Rizzuti made two free throws with eleven seconds remaining, the Chargers rushed the ball up court for an Eli Kading shot that missed the mark. Charger guard Ben Marsh snared the rebound and put up a shot that also missed, but was fouled with 1.8 ticks showing on the clock.

After Panorama called a timeout to try to "ice" the sophomore into missing his free shots, Marsh stepped to the free throw line. One could cut the tension in the air with a knife. When the first shot split the net, a roar went up from the home crowd. Tied at 57 each, Marsh took a deep breath, eyed the basket and with precision form executed the second shot to seal the win at 58-57. And there was dancing in the streets. Well, not literally, but Charger fans, players, and coaches celebrated at the final buzzer. And the barn was burned!

Earlier in the game it appeared that ACGC was going to win going away, as the Chargers took a 23-17 lead into halftime and built a ten point lead at 31-21 with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter. But the Chargers were outscored 11-4 over the rest of the quarter to get the Panthers within three points at 35-32.

Panorama took its first lead at 40-39 since early in the game when Lucas the Panthers hit a trey to put the Panthers up by 40-39 with just over five minutes remaining. ACGC regained the lead two minutes later at 44-42 on two consecutive Charlie Crawford scores.

Now it gets interesting. Over the final 2:50 of the game both teams scored on EVERY possession--either by field goal or free throw. The Panthers netted fifteen points during that span that included three scores from beyond the arc--two by Domonic Walker and one by Rizzuti. Rizutti added a two pointer and two free throws, and Drew Taylor also scored a basket. The Chargers countered with twelve points that included a trey by Brock Littler, deuces by Miles Kading and Ben Marsh and five free throws.

And that takes us to the game ending heroics by Ben Marsh. The finish to this game is the stuff that legendary tales are made from. Twenty five years from now there will be conversations at class reunions about the finish of this "barnburner."

"Our energy and effort was outstanding," Charger coach Lance Kading commented regarding his teams's performance. "One of our main points of emphasis was to limit their free throw attempts. They were averaging twenty three attempts per game and we held them to seven attempts.

"We focused on trying to stop their dibble penetration into the paint and not bailing them out by fouling when they did get in there. I was really proud of how the guys kept working hard and competing no matter what happened."

The visitors were led in scoring by Rizutti who came up with 18 points. Domonic Walker and Evan Taylor also scored in double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively. Drew Taylor led the team in rebounds with 7 and Domonic Walker dished out 3 assists. Evan Taylor came up with three thefts. The Panthers made 42% of their field goal attempts on 22 makes out of 52 tries that included 7 out of 15 treys. The team cashed in on 6 of 7 free throws.

ACGC was led by Ben Marsh and Miles Kading who scored in double figures with 16 points each. Lucas Marsh led in rebounds with 9, while several players had 2 assists and also 2 steals. ACGC shot 45% from the floor on 19 of 42 makes that included 7 of 18 from three point range. They connected on 13 of 23 free throws for 57%.

The win improves the Charger season record to 11-3 (7-3 WCAC) , while Panorama now stands at 11-2 (7-2 WCAC).

Score by quarter:

Panora 8 9 15 25--57

ACGC 8 15 12 23--58

Panorama individual statistics: (TP-REB-ASSTS-STLS) Leiferman (0-3-0-1) ETaylor (11-4-1-3) BTaylor (8-1-1-1) DWalker (12-4-3-0) PWalker (0-0-0-0) DTaylor (6-7-0-0) Rizutti (18-3-2-3) Wasson (2-2-0-0) Klinge (0-1-0-0) Hambleton (0-0-0-0) Weinkoetz (0-1-0-0)

ACGC individual statistics: Ekading (8-4-1-2) BMarsh (16-1-2-2) Crawford (2-4-0-2) LMarsh (7-9-0-2) MKading (16-4-2-0) Wardyn (0-0-0-0) Rogers (0-0-0-0) Littler (9-1-1-2) Weinkoetz (0-0-0-0)

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