The game tape from Bolivar’s 44-39 victory over Reeds Spring probably won’t find its way into the hands of many college recruiters.
“It was just plain ugly,” Bolivar junior point guard Coday Garrison said. “It was very frustrating. We just tried to keep our head up and grind it out.”
The Liberators succeeded despite a clunky performance, partly dictated by the upstart Wolves, to advance to today’s Gold Division semifinal against Parkview at 7 p.m. at Hammons Student Center in the Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament.
But they’ll have to shoot better against the Vikings to survive again. Bolivar was a miserable 4 of 23 from beyond 3-point range and that was only salvaged by a pivotal 2-of-3 stretch in the fourth quarter that decided the outcome.
“Sometimes in this gym, that college 3-point (line) out there, kids get behind it and take a little deeper shot than they need to,” Bolivar coach Robby Hoegh said. “We get impatient at times and we settle for shots instead of getting the shots we want.
“And that’s just kids trying to make plays.”
The style of the game, methodical and physical, suited the Wolves just fine. Reeds Spring (1-10), coming off its first win of the season the day before against No. 5 Clever, led deep into the third quarter after feeding off Bolivar’s shooting woes.
But a 10-0 run in the third by the Liberators (9-1), capped by a trey and bucket by Chance Rash, gave Bolivar its first lead (23-20) at the end of the period.
A technical foul on a Reeds Spring player between periods exacerbated problems for the Wolves. Rash made both free throws, then added two more as Bolivar pushed its lead to 27-22. A three-point play by the Wolves’ Austin Selby cut it back to 27-25, but Bolivar responded with another trey by Garrison and a 9-2 run to put it out of reach.
“(The technical) hurt, they always hurt,” Reeds Spring coach Barry Yocum said. “You’ve got to give Bolivar credit because they are a good basketball team.
“We did a good job all night of contesting, but they are only going to miss so many.”
Rash was huge in the second half for the Liberators, scoring all 14 of his points in the final two periods to push Bolivar into today’s matchup with top-seeded Vikings. Garrison added 11, eight coming in the second half.
“It was pretty frustrating and I was disappointed in how I shot,” Rash said. “It seemed like everyone was missing. You always tell yourself that something’s going to start falling, but it didn’t feel like that for most of the game.”
Joey Longstreet led Reeds Spring with 12 points and Selby added 10 points and nine boards. Easton Flaugh had seven points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
“Parkview’s a physical, physical team and they just have five kids that are solid,” Hoegh said. “They all have something that they do well.
“But it’s a game we need, a game we know we are going to have to guard everybody and that’s going to make us better.”