The biggest crowd at the Kaysinger Conference Basketball Tournament thus far knew what was at stake when Cole Camp had the final shot against Sacred Heart down 50-49 with 22 seconds to play.
The same crowd knew who the Bluebirds were looking for: Alex Pritzel.
After a struggle to get position in the post, Pritzel finally received an entry pass. Three Gremlins swarmed the senior Bluebird’s leading scorer, and he was forced to pass.
Cole Camp’s final shot, like many others that evening, was heavily contested and tipped. Kendrick Logan’s desperation putback from the elbow also missed, and Sacred Heart advanced to the finals once again.
There are a few fixtures at the Kaysinger Conference Basketball Tournament.
The sponsor’s W-K Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac vinyl banners on both ends of the court are a couple. Their cars outside the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose center are another, along with the Kaysinger Conference Art show on the mezzanine. And, having won six of the last seven conference tournaments, the Sacred Heart Gremlins boy’s basketball team.
Some fixtures, as Cole Camp found out, are impossible to ignore.
Pritzel, less than 100 points away from becoming Cole Camp’s all-time leading scorer, led the Bluebirds with 14 points. Unser Brockman and Austin Berendzen scored 11 points.
Berendzen was 7-for-8 from the free-throw line in the second half.
Micah Tanguay led Sacred Heart with 14 points. Will Prenger also scored 14 points, all coming in the first half.
Trent Lyles scored 10 points for the Gremlins. He said defense, especially against Pritzel, was pivotal to the Gremlin’s victory.
“We just had a game plan to slow him down,” Lyles said. “And hopefully they could beat us with everybody else on the court. Charlie (Wendt), Colby (Young) and Micah (Tanguay) played really good defense on him, denied the ball and worked hard.”
Cole Camp outscored Sacred Heart 25-18 in the second half. Gremlins head coach Steve Goodwin said free throws were a major factor in the Bluebird’s comeback.
“I thought we played a good defensive game,” Goodwin said. “They shot a lot of free throws, and we didn’t. That’s why the game was close.”
Sacred Heart attempted 15 free throws to Cole Camp’s 27.
The Gremlins face Lincoln in the tournament final Saturday at 8 p.m.
Cole Camp plays Smithton in the third place game Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
Windsor 64, Tipton 51
Lincoln 57, Smithton 54
LATE GAME — Otterville vs. Stover
Alex Agueros can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @abagueros2