When Dade Davis jammed his neck into the wall behind the basketball hoop Saturday afternoon while trying to block a fast break, it didn’t look as though the Bloomfield senior would return to the court for the rest of the fourth quarter — much less hit the game-winning three-pointer.
But Davis sank a trey from the corner just before the buzzer sounded as if he’d never been injured, sending the Bee faithful into a frenzy with the 49-46 win over Wausa to earn third place at the Creighton Holiday Tournament.
“Coach drew up a good play,” Davis said after the game. “My teammates got me the ball and trust me to make that shot. I respect their confidence.”
Davis had a hot hand all night, hitting 7-of-11 from the field. He also had six rebounds and three steals.
A physical game from the start, Bloomfield seemed a step ahead of Wausa for most of the game, but toward the end of the second half, the Vikings came alive. Coach Tim Schindler admitted that his players really buckled down after he was called for a technical.
“It was one of those things that makes you proud as a coach,” he said. “I got a little upset with officiating and got a techical. They came together, and from that moment on, they really battled and fought.”
After being up by 11 points earlier in the game, foul trouble kicked in for Bloomfield in the fourth quarter. Wausa’s Jaxon Claussen sank a pair of free throws to tie the game at 40 with 4:03 to play. A back-and-forth battle for the next several minutes, Skyles Kinkaid handed Wausa the 46-45 advantage thanks to two free throws with 1:48 remaining.
Bloomfield senior Braden Eisenhauer, who scored his 1,000th career point earlier in the game, hit the front end of a 1-of-2 to knot the score at 46 with 63 seconds left to keep the crown in suspense.
Wausa’s Ethan Baue pulled down a huge rebound, setting up what looked to be the last possesion of the game. But as the Vikings tried to work the ball inside with 20 seconds left, Davis picked off a pass for his third steal of the night.
Coach Gary Eisenhuaer called a timeout with 11.7 seconds to set up David on the left corner for the game-wining three pointer.
“It’s my senior year, so I’m going out with a bang,” Davis said after the game. “This is Wausa, and they’ve always been a rival. This is always two physical teams, and Wausa will always show up no matter what their record is.”
Although the Vikings were in foul trouble early, Schindler said he was proud of the way his players rebounded in the fourth quarter and nearly pulled off the win.
“We opened up the depth more in this game,” he said. “When we got into foul trouble, it worked out for us because we had a plan for it. We’ve been in foul trouble quite a few times this year, so we’re starting to figure it out and what to do when it happens. The guys who came off the bench did a good job of holding their own and battling.”
In the girls game, Wausa topped Bloomfield 56-30 in the consolation final. Coming into the game, Wausa coach Brandon Kirby said his team was only averaging about 10 baskets per outing. The Lady Vikings nearly managed that in just 3-pointers on Saturday. Clara Schindler hit 5-of-9 from behind the arc while Ashleynn Timmerman knocked in 3-of-5 from the 3-point line.
The Bees were playing without Katie Bruns, who went down with an ankle sprain during warm-ups on Friday, leaving the team out of sorts against Creighton. But they started clicking late Saturday afternoon against Wausa.
“It hurts when you have any player go down, especially a point guard and leader,” said Bloomfield coach Terri Mlady. “It took a while, and in the game yesterday against Creighton, it wasn’t until the fourth quarter that we started coming back. But today they came out and handled the adversity.”
Mlady said although the shots weren’t falling for the Bees, her team did a good job of working into way into offensive rebounds for second-chance opportunities.
“We had some good offensive rebounds. When the shots didn’t fall, we had some good placement with rebounds. They were finding ways to score,” she said. “These girls fight hard every day. Even if it’s against 6-foot girls and they’re 5-2, these girls are scrappy and scrambling. They’re a fun group.”
While the Bees were struggling without a key player, the Vikings were playing their best ball of the season. Wausa pulled down 42 rebounds against Bloomifeld, including 27 defensive boards to stop the Bees.
“The defense has been like that this whole year,” Kirby said. “It’s our offense that’s been struggling, but not today. I told them that if our offense ever decides to show up, we’ll be a dangeous team.”
But Kirby said Saturday was just one game, and he knows the next time Wausa and Bloomfield play, things will be different.
“We’ll play them later in the year, and under no circomstances do we think it’s going to be the same result. With a couple weeks of practice under you, things are different,” Kirby said.
Bloomfield: Braden Eisenhauer 16, Cody Bruegman 2, Gabe auck 7, Dade Davis 17, Dalton Gieselman 7.
Bloomfield: Madie Ziegler 2, Ella McFarland 2, Alexandra Eisenhauer 5, Brookleyn Eisenhauer 14, Brynn Bargman 5, Bree Eisenhauer 2.
Wausa: Morgan Kleinschmit 12, Darla Nelson 2, Leah Bloomquist 1, Ester Nelson 4, Ashlynn Timmerman 9, Abrielle Nelson 2, Emiy Woockman 2, Alexa Cunningha 3, Clara Schindler 21.