For The Tribune
The Borden boys basketball team held a 41-24 lead against Trinity Lutheran heading into the fourth quarter Tuesday night at the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
The Braves increased their lead to 18 points at 47-29 with six minutes remaining when the Cougars put on a furious rally and outscored the visitors 27-17 down the stretch.
However, it was too little, too late, and Borden went home with a 64-56 win.
Trinity, sparked by 14 points by Daniel Horton, nine by Keegan Rebber and a pair of 3-point baskets by Jacob Rowe, outscored Borden 32-23 in the fourth period.
A layup by Horton cut Borden’s lead to 55-51 with 52 seconds remaining, but that was as close as Trinity could get.
Two free throw by Horton cut Borden’s lead to 61-56 with 19.3 seconds left before the Braves extended their lead and improved to 8-1.
“We were on the verge of where we weren’t going to be in this game, and we changed the defense and put a press on, and were able to get some turnovers that led to some points and got some quick buckets,” Cougars coach Aaron Rudzinski said.
“We started to execute a little bit more on offense, and all of a sudden we’re down five or six points after being down 18 points at one time.”
Borden held a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter and was holding a 25-15 advantage late in the second when Rebber scored on a layup and Jack Harweger followed with a 3-pointer for a 25-20 score at the half.
“We were fortunate, I thought, to be five points down as badly as we played in the first half,” Rudzinski said. “We had a couple good possessions late in the second quarter that helped us get back.
“We had too many turnovers. I think the biggest thing is we just didn’t have the focus and the intensity that we needed to have to play a team like Borden.”
Borden scored the first two baskets to start the third quarter. After Horton scored a basket for Trinity, the Braves went on a 12-0 run to take a 39-29 lead and outscored the Cougars 16-4 in the period as Trinity shot 2 for 11 from the floor during that time.
“I told them at halftime we were very fortunate to be where we were, and we needed to take advantage of that starting the third quarter and start putting it on them,” Rudzinski said.
“We just had too many breakdowns on defense. We were playing a team that we though could really shoot the ‘3,’ and they can, but I think most of their shots were layups tonight. They had a ton of layups. We had some breakdowns where we kind of turned our head and let in some back-door plays and stuff.”
Borden did not make a 3-point shot and ended up going 21 of 40 from the floor, while Trinity made 21-of-54, including six 3-pointers.
Borden made 22 of 29 free throws, and Trinity hit 8 of 12.
The Cougars had a hard time containing Noah Hart, a 6-foot junior, who finished with 33 points.
“We started pressuring him full court a little bit and he had some lay ups,” Rudzinski said. “We weren’t getting back after they were breaking our press Once we switched our defense a little bit he wasn’t getting those shots.
“It hurt to not have (Jacob) Schult in the second half. He went out with a (knee) injury (in the second quarter). Schult was guarding him and he was probably our best match up against that kid.”
Horton topped Trinity (3-3) with 22 points and 13 rebounds and Rebber finished with 12 points.