Sports: Bears Fall In Crushing Two Point Defeat In CCS Championship Game
After coming out strong and remaining aggressive in the game against the Bellarmine Bells, the Bears fell one shot short of earning the Division I CCS Championship title. With a close game throughout, the Bears fought each second to stay in the game and prove that they deserved to be in the Championships, shown by the final score of 43-41.
The Bears earned the first possession of the game, but a backcourt call turned the ball over to the Bells. Senior Oliver Bucka scores first from the post, but his shot is immediately answered by a three-point basket by the Bells. Unlike their game on Wednesday, the Bears came out aggressive and ready to play from the beginning, repeatedly pulling down rebounds and earning second attempts to score.
Seniors Royce Branning, Markus Guegler, Brian Keare, and Bucka each contribute two more points to the board during the first quarter. As well, defensively, seniors Deverick Meacham and Bucka controlled the team’s rebounding. Senior Leland Callahan added a free throw to end the first quarter with the Bears in the lead, 11-8.
The scoring slowed down during the second quarter as both teams’ defenses stepped up the pressure. The Bells immediately hit a three-pointer to tie up the game coming out at the beginning of the quarter. Keare fought back by scoring twice, assisted in one by Bucka, who also scored a basket himself. Callahan hit both of his threes after being sent to the line again. Bucka dominated under the basket on the defensive end, making a block as the first half came to an end, with the Bells now in the lead, 21-19.
Senior Grant Henninger puts up the first shot for the Bears entering the second half, assisted by Guegler. Guegler goes on to add four more points, sinking a jump shot and two free throws. The Bears controlled their fouling during the second half, keeping themselves from getting into early foul trouble like the first half. However, they continued to drive to the basket, leading the Bells to foul them more often. Meacham, Branning, and Callahan contributed two points each to keep the Bears fighting through the third quarter, only trailing the Bells 34-31.
Branning, determined to keep scoring despite the Bells’ success in stopping all three-point attempts, draew a foul and sinks both of his free throws beginning the fourth quarter. Branning then finished a basket after several consecutive shot attempts by the Bears. Henninger continued to play aggressively at the post and make another shot, stepping up as Bucka tried to play through the pain of a hurt ankle from earlier in the game.
As the clock ran down, the game remained close, a back and forth battle between the two teams. Guegler threw up another basket, followed by Meacham tipping in a shot by senior Ryan Roberts to tie up the game. With a minute left and both teams in bonus, the Bells called a time-out to discuss strategy. Coming back into the game, the Bears play strong, shutdown defense. However, the Bells managed to score after a put-back shot with less than 30 seconds left. For their last play of the game, the Bears controlled the ball and managed to get it to Callahan for a three-point attempt. But, a Bell player tipped the shot, causing it to fall short, and the Bears struggled to attempt another basket. The clock ran out with both teams fighting for the ball on the ground, with the Bells ultimately winning the game, 43-41.
Despite the CCS Championship loss, the Bears’ season continues on Wednesday against Rodriguez with their first game of the NorCal Tournament, where they will continue to fight for a state championship.