Host Spring Hill holds off foul-plagued De Soto boys
Early foul trouble forced De Soto into lineup changes that the Wildcats haven't been used to during Tuesday's 70-62 opening-round loss to Spring Hill at the Spring Hill Invitational.
It also assured the Wildcats that they wouldn't compete in the championship game for the eighth-straight year or even qualify for the consolation game for the fifth-straight time.
"We had to go into lineups that we don't typically play with," said De Soto coach Jason Generally. "It was good in the sense that we had unfamiliar people who were forced to step up tonight."
The Wildcats were forced to play virtually the entire first half without starting guard Ryan Brown after he picked up a couple of quick fouls early.
Brown, who picked up his fourth foul with 46 seconds remaining in the third period and eventually fouled out with more than five minutes left in the game, wasn't the only Wildcat to get into hot water with his aggressive play.
His younger brother Danny was whistled for his fourth foul with nearly half of the third period left to play, and Graham Power committed his fourth foul with just four seconds left in the next-to-last period.
Josh Arnold joined the older Brown on the bench when he was whistled for his fourth and fifth fouls in the final period.
"Considering we had Ryan, Danny, Josh and Graham all get into foul trouble tonight, I was pleased with how well we played," Generally said. "We made plays and executed well with some of the other guys in there."
The Wildcats were whistled for 26 fouls and put Spring Hill to the line 28 times. Luckily for De Soto, the Broncos converted on just 14 attempts.
A shoddy defense was also the doing in of the Wildcats in the final eight minutes of play. Besides knocking down three treys in the final period, the Broncos also converted seven times on either point-blank jumpers or layups.
De Soto appeared to take back the momentum twice, on treys by Danny Brown in the final period. But each time Travis Larsen and Jason Murphy answered with three-pointers of their own the next Spring Hill possession.
"They made some crucial threes down the stretch," Generally said. "We just didn't close it out. They executed well; they played well. The game could have gone either way."
Danny Brown gave De Soto a 46-44 lead when he drained a three just 22 seconds into the final frame. But Larsen answered 34 seconds later with a bomb of his own, giving Spring Hill the lead.
After the younger Brown gave the Wildcats a 48-47 advantage, Larsen drained his second straight trey, giving the Broncos a 50-48 advantage and the lead for good with more than six minutes left.
Spring Hill built its advantage to 66-59 before Power nailed a mid-range jumper, cutting the deficit to 66-62. But back-to-back layups by Bryan Bollig and Aaron Barnett gave the Broncos their final margin of victory.
Spring Hill opened up a 12-6 advantage in the first period but saw the lead shrink in a hurry when Power made good on a short banker and Danny Brown wowed the crowd with a one-handed dunk.
After Spring Hill took a 15-11 advantage into the second period, De Soto connected on eight-of-10 free throws in the second quarter, knotting the score at 30-30 going into intermission.
The Broncos upped their lead to 38-30 on a layup following a Wildcat turnover by Murphy. But Pete Crall finished off a 13-5 Wildcat run when he connected on a short banker with 15 seconds left in the third period.
Matt Myer gave Spring Hill a 44-43 advantage going into the fourth period when he made one-of-two free throws with four seconds left in the third period.
De Soto out-rebounded the Broncos 33-27 while committing 24 turnovers. Spring Hill was credited with 24 miscues.
De Soto (4-4), which is in the midst of a three game losing streak, plays the loser of Wednesday's match pitting Sumner Academy and Piper. The game will start at 5 p.m. Friday.