Bergman boys take title this time

Thursday, December 26, 2002

It was like two heavyweights slugging it out last Friday night in the boy's championship game of the 46th Annual Green Forest Holiday Tournament when the 6-0 Huntsville Eagles tackled the 17-1 Bergman Panthers.

This one went down to the final buzzer, and maybe beyond, as Bergman's Heath Taylor took a pass from Matt Curtis and banked in a layup as the final buzzer was going off to break a 46-46 tie.

The ball was shot, an official ruled good, and Bergman took the championship trophy home with a 48-46 victory.

Huntsville boys vs. Bergman

14-10, 24-22, 35-29, 46-48

It was a classic matchup ---- Huntsville's height and discipline against Bergman's press and hustle. Both teams were cautious in the first quarter, but opened up in the second.

Huntsville's Bracken Thompson hit a three with 5:48 to go until halftime for a 17-15 Eagle lead, while 6-7 teammate Orion Fliessbach was swatting Panthers shots out of the sky while pouring in points himself.

Fliessbach hit two inside to make it 24-22, where it stood at halftime, but Bergman tied the game on their first shot of the second half and you knew it was going to the wire in this game.

Bergman went to a spread 1-3-1 defense and got in the passing lanes, but Huntsville's players, all 6-4 or better, just kept passing over the shorter Panthers while working for a good shot.

Fliessbach kept scoring inside and the Eagles went up 33-27 and led 35-29 after three quarters. Huntsville's Derek Thomas hit a three to start the fourth, one of four he nailed in the game, and the Eagles looked like they would pull away.

But Bergman wouldn't wilt, and Panther Donnie Tomlinson met the challenge, hitting three 3's in the fourth to keep his team close. He nailed one with 5:36 to play, then got two to cut Huntsville's lead to two, 38-36.

Fliessbach answered inside for Huntsville, with Bracken Thompson getting a steal and layup to make it 44-38, Eagles, stopping the Bergman run.

Tomlinson answered with another three to make it 44-41, but Fliessbach scored again inside for a 46-41 score with just 2:34 to go.

With 1:54 to go, Bergman's hustle on defense paid off with a layup to cut Huntsville's lead to 46-43, and the Eagles were missing free throws.

A one-and-one opportunity bounced off the rim with 1:06 to play, and another three by Tomlinson tied the game at 46-all with just 47 seconds to go.

Huntsville held the ball until the final nine seconds, then called timeout to set a last play. But that strategy backfired as Bergman trapped Huntsville's guard on the inbounds and he threw the ball away with 3.3 seconds left on the clock.

Bergman ran their final play to perfection, sending Matt Curtis off a screen and streaking to halfcourt before getting the inbounds pass. Two dribbles and he found Heath Taylor on the baseline and Taylor made the winning layup as the buzzer went off.

Scoring- HV- Fliessbach- 19; Thomas- 12, 4 3's; Caleb Tenberge- 6; Justin Burkes- 5; 2's- Thompson, Tyler Trumbo. BG- 14's- Taylor, Tomlinson, 4 3's; Curtis- 13; Kelly Fitch3; Brandon Jones- 2.

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