By Tyler Brown
Herald Staff Writer
Emotions ran high as the Maplewood boys basketball team lost in the final seconds of a hard-fought campaign against the Tidioute Bulldogs on Wednesday night, 45-42.
The visiting Tigers (1-2) came out fast and strong, scoring in the opening frames to kick off a night of action. They were answered quickly in a match that was never more than six points apart.
Tidioute (3-0) responded quickly, putting up 4 points to take the lead 3 minutes in, a lead which they kept until 2 minutes into the third stanza.
Maplewood’s scoring effort was lead by junior Joel Cox, who put up 12 points on the night. He was supported by Jordan Hollabaugh, who tallied eight points.
Maplewood dragged behind in the first half. In the second period, they went scoreless for five minutes before Cox put two points on the board to get things started.
After 16 minutes passed, the teams went to the locker rooms with the home side Bulldogs up 20-16.
The second half was a much faster game than the first, often bringing fans to their feet, cheering or yelling. The crowded room was racked with anticipation as Maplewood took the lead early in the third period. The rest of the night was end-to-end action, as the opponents went into the final quarter tied at 32-32.
Free throws proved to be a difference maker in the game. The Tigers converted 10 out of 16 points from the charity stripe, while the Bulldogs sunk seven of 11 shots made from the line. In the final minutes, the game turned into a free throw shootout, with each team having a couple opportunities to tie the game up and take the lead with a 1-and-1.
With just a few seconds left on the clock, the game was tied 42-42 and things looked to be over until Patrick Shields, a Tidioute senior, took aim from outside the arch and cemented a Tidioute victory.
The night was high-strung for Maplewood coach Shawn Rhoades, who graciously applauded the Bulldogs amidst the disappointment.
“We just got outworked, plain and simple,” Rhoades said.
While Rhoades was glad for the energy coming out of his side in the beginning of the second half, he cautioned that his men needed to keep up that energy for the full 32 minutes.
“That [energy] is something we have to carry over, and not just when we need to pick it up,” he said. “That is just a heart thing and hopefully something we work on.”
He had praise for senior Hunter Groger, who came on to score five points for the away side.
For the Bulldogs, the victory was not without cost, as four players left the game with injury. According to Tidioute Charter School Athletic Director Ryan Guerra, two players needed stitches for split lips, another was gushing blood above the eye and a third was icing a sprained ankle.
The Tigers will next take to the court on Tuesday at home at 7:30, where they will face Union City.
Brown can be reached, by email, at email@example.com