Borden boys’ basketball coach Doc Nash doesn’t like to compare teams or seasons but he couldn’t deny a bit of Borden basketball magic had surfaced, and it reminded him of last season’s Class A state championship run.
The Braves appeared down and out late in the third quarter, but mustered a 17-3 run to rally past host Lanesville 61-55 on Friday night.
“Last year was something special,” Nash said. “That was a different team, different players. But this team made me a believer tonight. … Give the kids credit. They gutted it out and found a way to win. That was a fun game.”
Borden trailed 50-40 after Lanesville’s Ryan Fulkerson drilled a 17-footer with 51 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Eagles (6-3, 1-1 Southern Athletic) didn’t hit another basket. They managed just five more points, all on free throws.
Meanwhile, Borden (7-1, 2-0) chipped away at the lead.
Garrett Vick completed back-to-back three-point plays — the last points of the third quarter and first of the fourth — and the Braves trailed 50-46 with 7:50 left.
“That’s what you expect from a senior, a four-year starter,” Nash said. “Our expectations are high, especially for a four-year starter.”
Vick’s 10 points were part of a balanced Borden attack as four Braves reached double figures. Cody Craddock scored 13 points and Caleb Hart and Zack Gillam had 12 each.
The comeback continued and Borden finally grabbed the lead when Craddock hit a layup, giving the Braves a 55-53 advantage with 1:49 left. After Lanesville’s Jack Ferree missed a 15-footer, Craddock converted another layup with 1:05 left and the Braves led 57-53.
Lanesville managed just two more free throws — from Ferree.
The Braves struggled at the free-throw line, hitting just 16 of 26. “That’s awful,” Nash said. “Like other teams do, we practice free throws,” he said.
Lanesville built a 10-point lead behind 6-foot-3 senior forward Joe Ferree, who scored 25 points in the first three quarters. He finished with 27.
“He’s the best player in the conference,” Nash said of Ferree. “He’s a tough guy to guard on the high school level. He’s a matchup problem for us.”
Ferree hit 10 of 17 shots, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
“He can be a tough matchup,” said Lanesville coach Mikel Miller. “He played very solid tonight in all phases of the game. We just needed a little bit more help for him.”
Miller said the Eagles missed some open shots in the fourth quarter. “We had some opportunities,” he said.