For the second time in two days, a spirited comeback effort by the Somerset boys’ basketball team fell short.
After losing a Middle Border Conference game against Baldwin-Woodville on Friday night, the Spartans lost a non-conference game at Eau Claire Regis on Saturday, 70-67.
The two losses drop Somerset to 12-6 for the season. The Spartans face another severe test on Thursday when they play at Prescott, an MBC co-leader.
One lull late in the first half proved costly for the Spartans. The first half was close for much of the way, but the Ramblers were able to make a late surge to pull ahead 34-23 at halftime.
The Spartans spent the second half clawing their way back into the game, only to see Regis inch ahead again each time. The Spartans started the second half by closing the gap quickly, tying the score at 45-45.
The Spartans were in the game right to the end, but hitting 1-of-4 free throws in the final minute made it difficult to complete the comeback.
Most of Saturday’s game was played without junior Jack Cook. He hurt his back while drawing a charge in Friday’s game. The injury was magnified when he drew another charge early in Saturday’s game. Junior Tysen Wink also missed part of the game with a knee injury.
With injuries and foul issues, the Spartans’ depth was tested. Tate Pitcher, Ben Rybacki, Wink and Henry Dendinger all saw larger roles in Saturday’s game.
Both teams were successful from the behind the arc, as Somerset and Regis both hit eight 3-pointers. Trae Kreibich led the Spartans with five threes, and with 22 total points. Ty Madden and Melvin Ortiz both scored 14 points. Madden also led the team with nine rebounds and four assists.
The things that have made the Somerset boys a success in the Middle Border Conference basketball race this season got used against the Spartans on Friday.
Somerset is usually strong at outside shooting, rebounding, defense and driving to the rim, but Baldwin-Woodville was the better team in all those aspects on Friday. The Blackhawks stung the Spartans, 66-59.
Somerset opened Friday’s game with a 6-0 lead, using the press to force quick turnovers. But once B-W survived that charge, the Blackhawks had the Spartans reeling through the rest of the half. B-W hit nine 3-pointers in the first half to build a 43-31 halftime lead.
While the Hawks were effective from the arc, the Spartans were not. Somerset went 1-of-15 from the arc after using threes as a base for their attack in most games.
The Spartans were also outrebounded 34-25 in the game. Coach Wink said the Spartans were spectators too often in rebounding situations, with post Mason Cook often battling alone for rebounds.
In the second half, the Spartans did come back. A drive by Jack Cook with 3:49 remaining cut the B-W lead to 57-56. B-W responded, but a hoop by Cook cut the lead to 61-59 with 40 seconds left. The Spartans then forced a turnover, setting up for a possible tying shot. Instead, the Spartans turned the ball over and the Hawks scored five points in the last 16 seconds.
Wink said his team showed some resilience in the second half, but that wasn’t where the problems started.
“We lost the game in the first half. You can’t give up 43 points in a half,” he said. “It’s one game, it’s not the end of the world.”
Cook led the Spartans with 15 points. Melvin Ortiz finished with 14 points and Mason Cook scored 10 points.