UPDATED: Bloomfield falls in Class 2A regional barn-burner

Saturday, March 14, 2009
HUNTINGBURG -- Bloomfield senior forward Kurt Schulte (right) looks for a opening while being guarded by Brownstown Central forward Taylor Wischmeier during a boys basketball game at the Class 2A Southridge Regional here Saturday. Schulte finished with 10 points in a 38-35 loss as the Cards ended their season with a 13-10 record.

HUNTINGBURG -- In a fourth quarter that featured three ties and nine lead changes, Brownstown Central junior Taylor Wischmeier made two free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to give the Braves a 38-35 victory over Bloomfield here Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Class 2A Southridge Regional.

Bloomfield, making its first appearance in the Huntingburg Memorial Gymnasium since winning the regional in 1965, had taken a 35-34 advantage with 48 seconds remaining as Kurt Schulte hit a 3-pointer over the outstretched arms of the 6-7 Wischmeier.

But on the next possession, 6-6 senior center Blaze Ayers made two free throws after being fouled by Bloomfield's Andy Cochrane. Ayers, who finished with 12 points on the strength of making 6 of 7 free throws as well as grabbing a game-high five rebounds, put the Braves in the lead -- 36-35.

After a time-out by Bloomfield coach Ron McBride with 14.5 seconds remaining, the Cardinals got the ball to Schulte, whose wide-open 12 foot jump shot in the lane went in and out with four seconds remaining. Wischmeier grabbed the defensive rebound and made the ensuing freebies to end the Cardinals' season at 13-11.

"We did what we needed to do. We just needed one more stop," said McBride. "We drew up a play with a couple of options. The kids executed well and I could not have asked for a better shot.

"The ball went about as far in as it can go without making the shot."

The game was as close throughout as the fourth quarter was, as five points was the largest lead by either squad.

Brownstown Central (19-6), who defeated Forest Park 55-47 Saturday night to win the regional, seemed to have an answer for everything the Cardinals did in the fourth quarter.

Andy Cochrane, who made 6 of 8 shots including 3 of 4 from 3-point range to finish with a game-high 15 points, Graham Helms and Schulte all made threes as the Cardinals made its first three shots of the period.

Cochrane's trey from the top gave the Cardinals a 27-25 cushion, but three straight points by Ayers, the last two coming on a baseline drive after an in-bounds play, gave BC a 28-27 advantage with 3:35 remaining.

Helms, who finished with five points, buried a trey from the left wing, putting the Cards ahead 30-28 at the 2:50 mark.

On the next possession, Ayers got inside and scored from the right block. He was fouled by Helms on the play. He made the ensuing free throw as the Braves went back ahead 31-30 with 151 seconds left.

McBride said that Brownstown went inside more to 44 (Ayers) and 34 (Wischmeier) in the second half.

"We were out of position two or three times," said McBride. "We have things to counteract that, but we did not execute as well as we did in the first half.

"That old-fashioned three-point play was big for them. It just came down to needing one more stop and we just couldn't get it when we needed it."

Schulte, a senior who scored 10 points, made two free throws as the Cardinals went ahead 32-31 at the 2:23 mark.

Schulte was 3 of 4 at the foul line, accounting for all of the Bloomfield free throws. Led by Ayers and Wischmeier, who made 4 of 6, Brownstown Central connected on 13 of 17, including 7-for-9 in the fourth quarter.

Ayers and Wischmeier attempted all nine freebies in the final eight minutes for the Braves, who shoot over 72 percent at the stripe for the season compared to .764 Saturday.

"They are a good ball club," said McBride. "You have to give them credit because they stepped to the line and made 13 of 17 while we were just 3 of 4."

Bloomfield finished 6 of 9 from 3-point range and outscored the Braves 18-9 from distance. BC sophomore Spencer Allman was 3-for-5 as part of his 11-point performance. His final trey, from the left wing, put the Braves in front 34-32 with 2:02 remaining.

"I can't say enough about the kids," said McBride. "Once we bounced back after they made their run in the third quarter, I thought we were in control of the game.

"But it just came down to getting one more stop. In the end, they just made more plays down the stretch than we did."

Each team traded leads early with Brownstown Central in front 7-4 after the first quarter, but a 3-pointer by Gavin Thompson (his only points), set up by a pass from Cochrane, and gave the Cards a 17-14 edge at the half.

Brownstown started the second half on a 10-2 run, taking a 24-19 midway in the third quarter. But Schulte came up with a loose ball, giving the Cards the final possession of the period. An offensive rebound was converted into two points by Mitch Hobson just seconds before the end of the quarter. His only basket of the game tied the issue at 24-all going to the fourth.

Both teams shot the ball well and protected it well. Bloomfield made 13 of 23 shots (57 percent) while BC hit 11 of 22 (50 percent).

The Braves made just three turnovers while Bloomfield had six.

"We did not make a lot of turnovers, but we made them in bunches," said McBride. "They always seemed to be able to score off of our turnovers.

"We were not assertive to start the second half and they caught us on our heels. But the boys settled down after we called time-out."

Seniors Schulte, Rick Tally, who did not attempt a shot from the field but had two blocks and three rebounds, Helms, Thompson and Hobson all played in their last high school basketball game while classmates Chris Babcock and Jordan Arford also concluded their hoop careers at BHS.

After Wischmeier's foul shots, Bloomfield got the ball to Helms, who missed a 23-footer from the wing and Schulte's putback attempt also fell off the rim as time expired.

"We always talk about having to have a little luck on your side in order to win," said McBride. "Today I think they were just a little bit luckier than we were."

Forest Park defeated Covenant Christian 68-66 in overtime in the first game Saturday as University of Southern Illinois recruit Jordan Myers scored the winning basket with 4.3 seconds remaining.

Class 2A

Southridge Regional

At Huntingburg

BROWNSTOWN CENTRAL (38) -- Spencer Allman 3-5 2-2 11, Taylor Wischmeier 2-5 4-6 8, Blake Ayers 3-7 6-7 12, Ryan Shoemaker 2-3 0-0 4, Michael Leitzman 1-2 0-0 2, Jeff Turmail 0-0 1-2 1, Chris Hinton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-22 13-17 38.

BLOOMFIELD (35) -- Kurt Schulte 3-9 3-4 10, Andy Cochrane 6-8 0-0 15, Rick Tally 0-0 0-0 0, Graham Helms 2-4 0-0 5, Gavin Thompson 1-1 0-0 3, Mitch Hobson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 13-23 3-4 35.

Brownstown Central 7 7 10 14 -- 38

Bloomfield 4 13 7 11 -- 35

3-point shooting -- Brownstown Central 3-8 (Allman 3-5, Leitzman 0-1, Wischmeier 0-1, Ayers 0-1), Bloomfield 6-9 (Cochrane 3-4, Thompson 1-1, Schulte 1-1, Helms 1-3). Fouls -- Brownstown Central 7, Bloomfield 11. Fouled out -- None. Rebounds -- Brownstown Central 9 (Ayers 5), Bloomfield 9 (Thompson 3, Tally 3). Assists -- Brownstown 8 (Leitzman 4), Bloomfield 10 (Schulte 3, Thompson 3). Steals -- Brownstown Central 3 (Leitzman, Shoemaker, Ayers), Bloomfield 1 (Schulte). Turnovers -- Brownstown Central 3 (Leitzman, Ayers, Wischmeier), Bloomfield 6 (Cochrane 2). Blocks -- Brownstown Central 2 (Ayers, Wischmeier), Bloomfield 2 (Tally 2).