No one could ever make a case that the Burroughs Bombers aren’t a clutch basketball team.
Down by as many as 18, the Bombers staged one of those Hollywood type come-from-behind efforts to edge Westminster Christian Academy on the Wildcats home court, 63-61.
This could have been one of those classic trap type games.
Westminster was primed and ready. A big home loss to Burroughs on their football field was hardly forgotten. The Cats packed the joint with noisy, boisterous students. The crowd roared with approval when prior to the game, gritty senior John Eric Steiner was honored alongside his parents for reaching the 1,000 career plateau earlier in the week.
“We weren’t guarding anybody. They were getting outside shots,” said Bomber coach Steve Wilcutt. It was almost deja vu all over again because of the torrid three-point shooting by Crossroads guards a week ago in their only loss in a 16-game win season.
In big games, someone has to step up.
Skinny 6-foot-3 guard Jimmy Carney was the 'Man of the Hour.'
When his shot wouldn’t fall in the first half, he wouldn’t quit on himself. He had 3 (points in the first half) and added 19 more in the final 18 minutes. His three long-range flame throws crushed the Wildcat spirits down the stretch.
“I’ve had a few rough games, but fortunately this one came back to me,” said Carney, savoring the victory.
“We’ve had a couple of not-so-great games, but this talent has been beating everybody,” said Carney.
He was talking about rugged guard Ezekiel Elliott and high-flying forward Foye Oluokun.
Elliott drove the lane like a man possessed, and ended up with 20 points; Oluokun, playing a support role had 10.
The game thrilled the crowd. At half, WCA led 39-27. Burroughs closed the gap 48-43 at the end of three quarters.
With 5:20 left in the game, Elliott swooped in on a patterned layup and the game was tied at 49-49.
With 15.5 seconds left in the contest, Burroughs had the ball and the lead, 61-58. Carney connected on both ends of a one free throw opportunity and even with a last minute three by reserve Shane Benes, the Cats came up short.
Wilcutt saw two games in one. “I can tell you I wasn’t pleased with the first half. I never felt we were out of it. We didn’t guard anybody. We gave up 39-first-half points and that’s crazy for us,” said Wilcutt. Westminster got just 22 second half points.
“We battled back in the second half, whittled away at their lead and made some big shots down the stretch,” said the coach. “Our kids wouldn’t quit. They are used to competing, you have seen that,” said Wilcutt.
Steiner paced WCA with 19 points; Jack Dohr had 18. Westminster is 11-7; Burroughs is 16-1.