Missed free throws cost Trojans the win against Kennedy

The boys basketball team fell to the Cougars 57-45 on Feb. 11 after not being able to capitalize from the free throw line.

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Owen Aanestad

Guard Christian Barnes ’22 pushes the ball up the floor past his defender against Kennedy on Feb. 11.

Owen Aanestad, Online Editor-In-Chief

Coming off their first conference win of the year against Jefferson on Tuesday, the boys basketball team was looking to turn around their shortened season tonight in another Mississippi Valley Conference affair. The only thing standing in their way was the seven-game win streak from the Cougars.

Right out of the gate Pete Moe ’22 got to work with a bucket to go along with sophomore Savion Taylor’s three to make it 7-6 Trojans. The fast-paced first quarter brought a handful of small mistakes by both teams. Christian Barnes ’22 and the West High offense looked to feed Moe in the post despite the crowd of Cougar defenders that followed him. Barnes put on a show all night breaking the one-man press to help him find Grahm Goering ’21 late in the first for a transition lay-in to make it 9-9 heading into the second.

Moe powered his way into the lane to draw the foul and two free throws to start the second. The Trojans picked up one of their only leads of the night 15-14 with five minutes left in the half. Back-to-back blocks and a Goering up and under layup kept the Trojans within four despite allowing Kennedy to let it fly from beyond the arc. With only two minutes left in the second, the Cougars continued to add to their lead. The Trojans went into the half down 31-23 after a late foul gave Kennedy two more at the line.

Bergman’s defense came alive in the third with some scrappy double teams that resulted in some steals and transition points to help keep the Trojans’ hopes alive. A Moe pump-fake and lay-in cut the Kennedy lead to six with four minutes left in the third to make it 37-31 Cougars. Trouble on the defensive end put both Barnes and Moe on the bench with three fouls. Up 43-35 Kennedy’s offense held the ball for the last minute of the third.

Front-court pressure from the Trojans started off the fourth with more of the same scrappy defense from Barnes and Goering. The high low offense through Moe continued to fill the lane and draw fouls as the Trojans saw light at the end of the tunnel known as Kennedy’s lead. Rising star freshman Kareem Earl’s three fired up the West High bench and brought the Trojans within reach only down 47-42 with five minutes left in the game. Moe missed two late free throws which allowed Kennedy to knock down another three with two minutes left to keep the Cougars in control 52-44. The Trojans finished the night seven for 14 from the free-throw line compared to Kennedy’s 17 for 17. The boys basketball team let the Cougars improve to 12-6 on the year after falling 57-45.

Steve Bergman’s squad will be back in action in a girl-boy doubleheader against cross-town rival Liberty on Feb. 13.