Rudder boys basketball head coach Mike Carrabine believed his team was up to the challenge of upsetting District 19-5A-leading Magnolia on Tuesday at The Armory.
The Rangers’ free-throw shooting proved the final hurdle.
Rudder shot 5 of 13 from the charity stripe, including a missed first leg of a 1-and-1 in the final seconds of a buzzer-beating 47-46 loss to Magnolia.
“Looking at the records, we thought we were every bit as good as them,” Carrabine said. “So the loss is really hurting those young men, because they thought all along we were going to win this game.”
Trailing by a point with four seconds left, Magnolia (13-5, 6-0) sent its inbound pass to Connor Lindvall. The Bulldogs’ scoring leader dished a seeing-eye pass through the middle of the paint to Tom Osborn, who kissed a layup off the glass and into the net as time expired, keeping Magnolia’s unblemished district record intact.
“We were very conscious of [Lindvall] going left, and he still went left,” Carrabine said. “We came to help, and he found the open player, so that was a very good play by him.”
Lindvall finished with a game-high 14 points to go with five rebounds and four steals.
Rudder’s Grayson Adams took advantage of his size, riding putbacks to a team-high 11 points with five rebounds and two assists.
Rudder’s defense settled quickly into handling the fast-paced, ball movement offense Magnolia ran throughout the game. Keeping Bulldog cutters at bay, the Rangers (7-9, 3-3) finished the first quarter tied at 13.
Rudder then took advantage of a Magnolia cold spell in the second quarter, mounting an 8-1 run to start the frame. The Rangers held the Bulldogs to just two field goals in the period and led 29-21 at halftime.
A 10-0 Magnolia run to start the third quarter gave the Bulldogs the lead again midway through the frame. Lindvall netted six points in the period, including four during that initial run.
After maintaining a razor-thin lead through the fourth quarter, the Rangers had the opportunity to put away the game with a 1-and-1 attempt with just seconds remaining and a one-point lead. The miss, followed by two Rudder fouls to give, set up the Bulldogs’ game-winning play at the buzzer.
As the ball fell through the net, the entire Bulldog bench emptied and piled on top of Osborn at the free-throw line in celebration.
“They do a really good job of spreading the floor,” Carrabine said. “[Lindvall] is their top scorer, so we really tried to pay attention to him and try to have other people hurt us. He really hurt us by making that pas at the end to [Osborn] for the layup.”
Rudder shot 36% from the field, a bit shy of Magnolia’s 44%. Both teams hit one 3-pointer a piece.
Compounded with Rudder’s eight missed free throws was 14 turnovers to Magnolia’s seven, which continues to be a point of emphasis for Carrabine as the Rangers continue through district play.
“We need a big bounce back quick, because we’ve got A&M Consolidated Friday,” he said. “It’s just free throws and turnovers have been the bugaboo for us all year, and it got us again.”
Magnolia 47, Rudder 46
MAGNOLIA (13-5, 6-0) — Connor Lindvall 14, Tom Osborn 12, Andrew Bauer 10, Mason Machado 5, Kyler Fullmer 4, Heston Kelly 2.
RUDDER (7-9, 3-3) — Grayson Adams 11, Jeremiah Johnson 10, Kentun King 8, Kevin Holmes 6, JJ Bazy 6, Justin Headge 4, Jo Darius Hayward 1
Magnolia 13 8 14 12 — 47
Rudder 13 16 11 6 — 46
JV: Rudder won 71-67
Freshman: Magnolia won 54-31
Next: Rudder hosts Consol, 6:30 p.m. Friday