For the second time this season against Columbia, a slow start for the Bay City Blackcats led to a bad outcome as they fell to the Roughnecks 71-60 Tuesday night in a District 24-4A game.
In their first matchup this season, the Blackcats were down 38-12 at halftime before ultimately dropping a 73-65 decision.
Although first half was better against the Roughnecks, Bay City was still playing catch up after the first two quarters were done. The Blackcats trailed 39-21 at halftime this time around and never could quite get back into it in the second half.
The Blackcats played well in spurts against Columbia, but Bay City Coach Larry Butler said they weren’t long enough spurts to make a big impact on the outcome of the game.
“We struggled very much. Our outside shots didn’t fall. We didn’t attack the basket enough in the first half,” Butler said. “Second half, we came out and attacked the basket a lot.”
The Blackcats did a better job of defending against Columbia’s leading scorer, Cameron Ward, in this second matchup. Ward only scored 23 this time around after going off for 35 in their first matchup.
“We did a better job of keying on Cameron Ward. We held him to 23 points, which is probably around his average,” Butler said. “We did a pretty good job of face guarding him for most of the game. The shots he got were basically tough shots he made.”
Columbia was able to get contributions from other players that allowed the Roughnecks to hold off any Blackcat rally.
In the first quarter, Columbia went on a 12-1 run that led to a 19-6 advantage. Sultan Abdullah had six points during the run for Columbia while Heston Roberts had four. Both players finished with 11 points each for the Roughnecks.
The Blackcats showed some signs of life when they closed the quarter on an 8-0 run. Ke’Vaughn Gaskin had five points during the run, including a 3-pointer, to cut Columbia’s lead to 19-14 heading into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, Columbia went on a 13-0 run before halftime to take a 20-point lead. Ward had seven points during the run while Shamar Johnson picked up six.
A basket by Heart Gaskin for the Blackcats left them down 18 at the break.
In the third quarter, the Blackcats were able to chip away part of Columbia’s lead in large part by the efforts of Marquis Edwards. Edwards had 15 of his 23 points in the quarter and helped cut Columbia’s lead to 12 with a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in the quarter. Columbia’s Jordan Woodard hit a 3-pointer himself to give the Roughnecks a 15-point edge heading into the final quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Blackcats trimmed the Columbia lead down to 10 with 3:12 left. Ky’Adrian Green, who scored 12 points for the Blackcats, hit the basket to leave Bay City down 66-56. Bay City could get no closer.
Ke’Vaughn Gaskin finished with 11 points for Bay City while Konnor Greene had nine. Heart Gaskin and Marcus Edwards each had four points.
Even with the loss to Columbia, Bay City’s playoff hopes are still alive. The Blackcats are in a duel with Sweeny for the fourth and final playoff spot in District 24-4A. Those teams were to meet Friday.
“If we win Friday night against Sweeny, we will have a one game lead over them. That would put us in the driver’s seat to where basically as long as we take care of business, we will be the fourth-place team in the district and that will be three years in a row that Bay City has been in the playoffs. It’s something we can hang our hats on. We have not had that around Bay City in a long time and it’s something to be proud of,” Butler said. “Even though we have had a tough season to this point and not getting the wins we wanted, we at least have something to look forward to. If we get a win Friday night against Sweeny we have a chance to be able to go to the playoffs. It will be something these seniors can look back on and say we made the playoffs three years in a row.”