- Keith Hjelle
Charger Boys Lose by One Foot at W-G, 56-54
One point four seconds showing on the clock. Chargers trail Woodward-Granger by two points at 56-54 after a Hawk score broke a 54-54 tie. Charger coach Kading calls a time out and sets up a play. It was brilliant, but it was one foot off! Lucas Marsh, the Charger in bounder under the Hawk basket lofted a long, high pass to Eli Kading at mid court near the sideline opposite the scorer's able.
Kading was able to catch the ball and get a shot off before the final buzzer sounded. Time was suspended as it seemed to take forever for the ball to go towards the Charger basket. Eventually the ball hit the back of the rim, bounced off and fell to the floor.
Had Eli's shot been one foot longer, it would have banked into the basket and ACGC would have won. Had the shot been one foot shorter it would have swished and the Chargers would have won. But it was not to be. A tough loss for everyone--players, coaches, fans, interested bystanders, and at least one sports writer.
Perhaps it has to something to do with karma. In western pop culture karma refers to the idea that "what goes around comes around." Twenty four hours prior to the loss to W-G the Chargers won a game by a single point when Miles Kading made a free throw with no time on the clock to secure a 53-52 win over Pleasantville. Hmmm. Food for thought!
The Chargers trailed through most of the game after taking an 8-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. W-G had a big second quarter scoring twenty one points to take a 27-22 lead into halftime. The Hawks maintained the five point lead through the third quarter as well, and led by a 44-39 margin after the third frame.
The Hawks managed to get several "cherry pick" baskets when they sent Worth Henry to the offensive end early. Henry scored at least three different times with no Charger defenders in sight, and finished the game with 19 points, ten points above his season average. Lucas Marsh scored eight third quarter points for ACGC to keep the Chargers close.
The Chargers began to close the gap in the final frame and managed to tie the score at 47-47 after the elder Kading hit a trey with three and a half minutes showing on the clock. Over the final three minutes of play only one field goal was scored--by Charger Ben Marsh--as the teams spent a lot of time at the free throw line.
When Miles Kading's two successful charity tosses tied the score at 54 apiece with just under a minute to go, the Hawks spread the floor and went into a delay. A Charger foul put Trevor Simmons at the charity stripe for the Hawks. Simmons, a 52% free throw shooter on the season, sank both of the free throws to give W-G a two point lead at 56-54 and set up the final mid court shot by Eli Kading that missed by a foot.
Charger coach Lance Kading offered this analysis of the game: "We struggled shooting the ball, and our defense wan't good enough. Any time you let a team shoot close to 50% (the Hawks shot 47%) it's a lot harder to win.
"Even so, we hung tough and competed. We kept ourselves in a position to potentially steal a win on an off night. We just didn't make enough plays at either end of the floor. But I loved how we battled until the final buzzer."
Lucas Marsh led the Charger scoring with a career high 22 points and also led in rebounds with 7. Eli Kading and Ben Marsh scored in double figures as well with 12 and 10 points respectively. No Chargers had more than one steal or assist. The team shot 36% for the night on 18 successful shots out of 50 attempts which included 4 three pointers out of 19 attempts shots beyond the arc. ACGC made 14 of 20 free throws for 70% accuracy.
The loss leaves the Chargers with a season record of 15-5 which includes a 9-5 conference mark. Next up for the team is the final regular season game which will be at Earlham this Thursday, February 11. The varsity contest is slated for 7:15 with freshman and junior varsity games preceding the varsity game. A fourth place finish in the WCAC is on the line as the victor is assured of a fourth place finish. Go Chargers!
Score by quarter:
ACGC 8 14 17 15--54
W-G 6 21 17 12--56
Individual statistics: (TP-REB-ASTS-STLS) EKading (12-6-0-0) BMarsh (10-6-1-0)
Crawford(0-2-1-0) LMarsh (22-7-1-1) MKading (8-4-1-1) Wardyn (0-2-0-0) Littler (2-1-0-0)
Kunkle (0-0-0-1) Weinkoetz (0-2-0-0)