BUCYRUS – When Bucyrus traveled to Carey in early January, the Redmen came home licking their wounds after an 84-56 loss.
The rematch was a different game, if not a different outcome.
Bucyrus rallied from a 13-point deficit to pull within four before succumbing to the Blue Devils 65-60 on Monday night in a Northern 10 Conference game at Alex Kish Memorial Gymnasium.
“When we played the first time, we got up on them early,” Carey coach C.J. Kin said. “I told the kids we’d have a lot tougher time here.”
Carey (17-3, 13-3 N10) never trailed but neither could the Blue Devils shake the intrepid Redmen.
“We have to play at that level against everybody,” Bucyrus coach Tony Rose said. “We scored 60 points against a good team.”
Bucyrus (10-8, 8-8 N10) stayed close in the first quarter. The Redmen scored seven of the final nine points to trail 15-14 by period’s end.
An 11-2 run to start the second quarter seemed to put the Blue Devils in charge. Jared Wentling’s three-point play gave Carey a 26-16 lead. Wentling finished with a game-high 25 points.
“We fronted him, we did everything we wanted,” Rose said of his efforts to slow down Wentling. “He’s the leading scorer in the league.”
Yet the Redmen answered, scoring on five consecutive possessions to trim the deficit to 32-28 at halftime.
Wentling scored 11 of his team’s 17 points in the third quarter, to push the Blue Devils’ lead back to 49-38 after three.
But Bucyrus did not fold, climbing to within 62-58 on a free throw by Dalon King with 1:07 showing. This, despite missing seven of eight free throws in a 1:13 stretch midway through the final period.
“We want to play up-and-down and to their credit, they controlled the tempo,” Kin said. “We didn’t do a very good job of rotating (on defense).”
Bucyrus was still within 64-60 when D.J. Dagher hit two free throws with 35 seconds remaining. But they could not force a needed turnover and the Blue Devils held on for the win.
“We forced (nine) turnovers in the fourth quarter,” Rose said. “But we didn’t always take advantage of our opportunities. We still scored 22 points in the fourth quarter, which is pretty good against them.”
Zach Boes and Evan Rymer had 11 points each for Carey to support Wentling. Boes also had 10 rebounds.
“Good teams play well at home,” Kin said. “Bucyrus played well tonight.”
King and Austin Williams dropped in 16 points each for Bucyrus. Chase Bowman grabbed six rebounds.
“We went from a 28-point loss to a 5-point loss,” Rose said. “We pushed the ball as much as we could. The whole bench played well. We’re getting tournament ready.”