Battlefield held off a furious Marshall rally Friday night to take a 55-49 victory over the Statesmen and earn a berth in the 6D Regional Title game. The Battlefield win snapped a 19-game win streak for Marshall and also earned the Bobcats an appearance in next week’s state tournament.
At the half the Bobcats trailed 22-20 and were somewhat stifled by Marshall’s defense, which forced numerous turnovers and held Battlefield to two points in the second quarter. But the Bobcats and their coach adjusted.
“In the first half we had some trouble realizing that their length was as long as it was,” Battlefield coach Randy Bills said of Marshall’s zone defense. “But, we made a few adjustments and we were able to attack it a little bit better in the second half and not turn the ball over.”
The Bobcats attacked it a lot better in the third quarter, scoring 23 points and forging to a 43-37 lead. They upped their lead to 47-38 shortly thereafter, but that’s when Marshall made it interesting. The Statesmen went on a 12-1 run, capped off by a Joseph Lampman three-pointer, to take a 49-48 lead with just a few minutes left.
That’s when Battlefield’s Brayden Gault took over. First the senior scored on a beautiful up-and-under in the lane with virtually the entire Marshall defense converged around him. Then, after a stop, he buried a clutch three-pointer off a pass from sophomore Carter Svenson to give his team a 53-49 lead. Marshall was unable to score again, and the Bobcat fans who made the trek east to Marshall started to celebrate.
Senior Demitri Gamble scored 13 points to lead Marshall, while junior forward Daniel Deaver contributed 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Lampman added 10 points for the Statesmen, who concluded their season as both National District regular season and tournament champs and with a remarkable record of 23-3.
Gault led the Bobcats with 20 points, while senior sharp-shooter Will Bounds added 10. Junior guard Chase Pagon (eight points, seven boards) and senior center Austin Estridge (nine points, eight boards) also played key roles for Battlefield, which advances to host defending regional champion Madison in the 6D Final this evening.
The victory was especially sweet for the Bobcats, who seemed to have lost mojo at the end of the regular season losing five of seven. They got back their momentum playing better ball at the Cedar Run Tournament, though, and now have won three straight road regional games to come one game from a regional title.
“We started off our season well, we won the Wakefield Tournament and everything was good,” Bills said. “Then, well, towards the end, I’ll take full blame for that. But now, the guys just want to make it happen.”
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: Gault 4-5, Bounds 2-6, Terry 0-2, Svenson 0-2, Pagon 0-1|
|Threes: Gamble 2-4, Schlaffer 1-2, Deaver 1-3, Robinson 1-4, Lampman 1-5|