Yogi Berra, all-star catcher for the New York Yankees in the 1950's, is credited with many crazy quotes, including his most redundant one: "It's like deja-vu, all over again." The zany quote could be applied to the ACGC boys' basketball team in last night's tough 58-43 loss at the Woodward Academy home court in the Woodward-Granger junior high school.
Almost exactly one year ago, on January 24, 2017, the Chargers led the Knights, 37-29, on the Charger home court after three quarters of play. ACGC had played an outstanding defensive game and appeared to be on the verge of upsetting the Knights. At the start of the fourth quarter WA put on a panic press that the Chargers were unable to handle, resulting in 17-5 advantage for the Knights in the final frame and a 46-42 loss for the Chargers. The local cagers had played well for three quarters only to see the elusive prize slip away.
Unlikely as it may seem, it felt like "deja-vu all over again" last night in Woodward. ACGC and WA were locked in a close battle all throughout the contest. The Chargers held leads of 12-6 and 21-20 after the first two quarters, and trailed by a single point at 36-35 heading into the final stanza. Five three point goals through the first three quarters accounted for nearly half of the Chargers' points to that point, with Noah Nelson and Quenton Spack each hitting one trey, while Bryce Littler had hit three long balls.
Two and a half minutes into the last quarter the teams were deadlocked at 39 apiece after two Colin Stowe baskets. Two consecutive three balls by the Knights gave them a 45-39 lead before a free throw by Nelson made it 45-40 with 4:30 to go. Still anybody's ball game. But numerous turnovers by ACGC and several tough luck, close-in misses spelled doom for the Chargers. The Knights, meanwhile, took advantage of the ACGC miscues to seal the win. A three pointer by Littler was the only ACGC scoring over the final three and a half minutes of the game. Outscored by 22-8 in the final quarter it really seemed like a de-ja vu experience for the Chargers and their fans.
Despite the tough loss, this game was much closer that the final score indicated. The Chargers fought hard throughout in front of a boisterous and very large WA student section. The Knights had defeated perennial conference power Des Moines Christian, 55-54, on the Lions' home court last Friday. So, this was a solid WA team that the Chargers faced. It was just tough to see it slip away at the finish.
Charger coach Jake Mohling summed it up pretty well with his brief quote following the game. "It was a good three quarters. Too bad we couldn't finish in the fourth quarter."
Five Chargers entered the scoring column, led by Littler with 16. Caden Wardyn and Stowe each connected for 8 points, while Spack came off the bench to net 7 and Nelson finished with 4 points. Spack pulled down 7 rebounds and Wardyn snared 6 boards. Littler was credited with 5 assists and Spach had 2 of the four Charger steals.
The Chargers shot better from beyond the arc than within the three point line, as they made 6 of 18 three point attempts for 33%, while connecting on 9 of 29 chances from two point range for 31%. They were 7 of 12 from the free throw line for 58%.
The task does not become any easier in the next game for the Chargers as they will face 15-2 Des Moines Christian on Friday in Urbandale. The Charger and Lion girls' teams will tip things off at 6 PM.
Score by Quarters
ACGC 12 9 14 8--43
WA 6 14 16 22--58
FG 3Pt FT O-D AST STL TP
Nelson 1-8 1-4 1-4 0-1 3 0 4
Spack 3-10 1-5 0-1 1-6 0 2 7
Byars 0-0 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 0 0
Wheatley 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Littler 5-8 4-7 1-2 1-2 5 0 16
Wardyn 2-12 0-1 4-5 4-2 1 0 8
Younker 0-2 0-1 0-1 0-1 0 0 0
Stowe 4-7 0-0 0-0 2-2 1 1 8