By Derek Hoesly


BRODHEAD- In a classic battle Brodhead (3-2 overall, 1-2 Rock Valley) let one slip away as McFarland overcame a 10-point deficit with four minutes left to beat Brodhead, 90-85, in double overtime in a Rock Valley crossover matchup Thursday, Dec. 17.

The Cardinals came out red-hot taking an early 8-5 lead. Senior Ned Slocum converted on three drives to the rim, and senior Josh Pickel finished in the paint off an excellent look by Slocum. Brodhead got high quality shots in the opening minutes. The lead extended to 11-7 on a three by sophomore Parker Johnson.

Midway through the opening half the Spartans went on a 7-0 run to go up 16-13. Benjamin Rounds, who had a monster night, ignited the surge with a drive and then buried a three-point shot.

Late in the half, with the score tied at 20, McFarland erupted on a key 9-0 run to go up 29-20 with five minutes left. Brady Butler fueled the run with a base line reverse layup. Nolan Splinter, who was the other half of the lethal duo, converted twice on the block during the run.

After a Slocum jumper, Rounds answered with a three-pointer to push the Spartans’ lead to double digits at 32-22. Cardinals’ sharp shooter Johnson came back with a three pointer.

It appeared the Cardinals were going to put a major dent in the Spartans’ lead, as Brodhead connected on back-to-back baskets. Slocum got to the rim, and Johnson finished fast break layup of a Cardinals block.

Rounds then connected on his fourth three-pointer of the opening half to put McFarland up 37-29 and halt the momentum of Brodhead. The Spartans took a 37-31 lead into halftime.

Brodhead started the second half strong. Trailing 43-37, the Cardinals exploded for a 7-0 run to take a 44-43 lead with 12:56 left in regulation. Junior Tyler Flannery sparked the run with a top-of-the-key three-pointer off excellent ball movement.

Sophomore Brekan Day connected on a three-pointer to push the lead to 51-47.

After a McFarland basket, Brodhead responded by scoring eight out of the next ten points to get separation and go up 59-51 with just over seven minutes left in the game. During the spurt, Brodhead was relentless at getting to the basket.

With 4:50 on the clock Brodhead extended the lead to double digits at 66-56 and had all the momentum. Day converted a conventional three-point play on a drive and Pickel knocked down a corner three to bring Brodhead fans to their feet.

“We kind of realized that we were going to have to shoot the ball to win, and those guys both made some big plays. It’s just too bad we didn’t defend a little better down the stretch,” coach Nick Jarvis said.

McFarland sliced the Cardinals’ led to 66-59 as Rounds finished on the block. Johnson intercepted a pass and went in for the fast break layup and was fouled on the play. Johnson stepped to the charity stripe and capped the three-point play to put Brodhead up 69-59 with 3:50 on the clock. The Cardinals got a number of offensive contributions from several different players in the second half.

The Spartans then stunned the Cardinals by scoring 12 out of the next 15 points to trim Brodhead’s lead to 72-71 with 1:26 left in regulation. Brodhead had some costly turnovers to fuel the Spartans’ charge. Brodhead lost track of Rounds, which proved costly as Rounds buried two three-pointers during the spurt.

With 40 seconds on the scoreboard, Day stepped to the line and hit one of two to put the Cardinals up 73-71. Down the stretch Brodhead struggled from the charity stripe knocking down just two of eight in the closing minutes. As a team, the Cardinals were a disappointing 11-for-22.

McFarland went to Rounds on the final possession as Rounds got to the rim to tie the game at 73. Slocum missed a potential game-winning contestedmid-range jumper and Brodhead missed two putbacks at the buzzer. McFarland took all the momentum into overtime.

McFarland nailed back-to-back shots to put the Spartans up 79-75 with 1:04 left in overtime. On a key possession, Butler scored on a putback after five attempts. The height of McFarland created problems for Brodhead throughout the contest.

The Cardinals showed tremendous fight, as it looked bleak down 83-78 with 12 seconds left. Day buried a pull-up three to keep the comeback hopes alive. Johnson then forced a turnover on the ensuing Spartans in-bounds pass. Day sent the game into double overtime as he hit an unbelievable contested floater in the lane at the buzzer.

The second overtime was the Rounds show. Rounds hit a free throw and followed with a slash to the basket to put McFarland up 86-83. Junior TylerUrness cut the deficit to 86-85 on aninside conversion. Rounds answered with a drive to the basket. After a couple of missed shots by Brodhead, Rounds stepped to the line and buried two free throws to seal the comeback win.

Rounds had a game-high 34 points to lead McFarland. Splinter also had a big night scoring 29 points.

Slocum led the Cardinals offensive attack with 28 points. Day chipped in 17 points all coming in the second half and overtimes. Johnson added 15 points including two threes. Pickel contributed 12 points including eight in the second half.

“We talked about staying positive. At stretches we played really, really good basketball. There were stretches we didn’t play good basketball, and when we start to eliminate those bad stretches things will start to come together. We played a very good game. We played a very good opponent. We were one play away from getting it done,” Jarvis emphasized in his message to the team post-game.

Brodhead traveled to East Troy for a Rock Valley crossover battle on Tuesday, Dec. 22.