BR-H pulls away late to beat Wolves

Justin St. Ours | Daily Press Bark River-Harris’ Trenton Wood-Keshick (22) pulls in a rebound between Carney-Nadeau’s Beau Koffman (left) and Max Baumler (30) as Bayden Kakuk (32) looks on Thursday at Carney.

CARNEY — The Bark River-Harris boys basketball team pulled ahead and held on under a foul barrage here Thursday to beat the Carney-Nadeau Wolves 64-60 in Skyline Central Conference action.

The Broncos (4-1, 4-1 SCC) entered the fourth quarter leading 49-45, but Beau Koffman pulled the Wolves within 49-48 with a triple less than 30 seconds in. Carter Zawacki then laid one in to give the Broncos some breathing room, but the Wolves (4-4, 2-3 SCC) pounced back 30 seconds later with a triple from Max Baumler to tie it 51-51.

“You know it’s going to be a battle (here in Carney),” Broncos’ coach Marc Zawacki said.

“You expect that coming in. What I told our kids is to prepare for pressure defense, prepare for man-to-man full-court press and prepare for things to not go our way. That’s what we talked about all week. i told them if we’re prepared for it, then it’s not going to be a shock when it happens.”

Both teams scored two points over the next minute, but a layup from Zawacki rolled in as he was fouled by Baumler. Zawacki then sunk the free throw as BR-H went on an 8-0 run that lasted until less than a minute was left.

“We played pretty well,” Wolves’ coach Paul Polfus said. “We didn’t do as good a job as we could’ve denying the ball inside. They got a lot of easy buckets. I probably should’ve switched defenses quicker than I did. I give the kids credit, they battled through it to give ourselves a chance in the end. A couple shots here and there and it would’ve been a different game.”

The Wolves’ Brett LaFord ended BR-H’s run with an old-fashioned 3-point play to cut their deficit to 61-56 with 42.2 seconds remaining.

With time against them, the Wolves began fouling. Over the next 30 seconds, Bark River went 1-for-4 from the line, and the Wolves added four points to make it 62-60 with seven seconds left.

“The pressure free throws are what you’re after, right,” coach Zawacki said.

“So, we start off practice with free throws, but it’s hard to duplicate a stressful situation. But if you shoot enough, it should just come naturally.”

BR-H’s Riley Bray then missed a bonus free throw, but the Wolves came up empty on their next trip.

“We had to foul,” Polfus said. “We were denying the ball inbounds and faceguarding. We gave ourselves a chance. They missed three free throws in a row, but we also missed a couple big box-outs.

“We had some opportunities at the end, but it’s just a matter of making shots.”

With 3.6 seconds left, LaFord fouled out and BR-H’s Trenton Wood-Keshick sealed the game by sinking two from the charity stripe.

Bray led the Broncos with 17 points, while Wood-Keshick followed with 16. Nick Javurek notched 13 and Zawacki finished with 10.

“We don’t have a superstar on the team, but we’ve got a group of really good athletes,” coach Zawacki said. “All 11 of these kids can play ball. It’s nice as a coach, but then it makes it tough ’cause you want to find those guys minutes and you want to get their confidence going. The kids are buying in, and we have a lot more work we want to do here.”

LaFord led the Wolves with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Koffman added 15 with four triples. Brayden Kakuk chipped in 10.

Carney travels to Milwaukee Saturday, while Bark River hosts Norway Jan. 17.

Bark River 15 15 19 15 — 64

Carney 15 12 18 15 — 60

Bark River — Bray 17, Wood-Keshick 16, Javurek 13, Zawacki 10, Stein 4, Z. Robinette 2, Lippens 2. FT: 8-17; F: 11; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Javurek 2.

Carney — B. LaFord 24, Koffman 15, Kakuk 10, Baumler 9, Flanagan 2. FT: 2-3; F: 16; Fouled out: B. LaFord; 3-point field goals: Koffman 4, Baumler 3, B. LaFord 3.