Griffins dealt tough overtime loss

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Dutchtown's Nick Caldwell tries to get a shot off in traffic during the Griffins' loss to Walker. Photo by Tammy Gaudin.

In basketball, sometimes the bounces are friendly. Sometimes they’re not.

In their home matchup with 14-5 Walker last Thursday night, it was the latter for Dutchtown.

The Griffins led by 3 with just 18 seconds remaining in the game, when Walker went into their offense.

Dalton Moore broke open at the top of the key and let loose a shot that hit the back iron and bounced a couple of feet in the air. To the angst of Dutchtown, it then fell right into the hoop to send the game to overtime.

There, Walker outscored the Griffins, 10-3, to capture the 77-70 victory.

“We’re young. We have some young sophomore guards,” Dutchtown head coach Patrick Hill said. “They turned the pressure up, and we handled it to the best of our ability. We had our chances at the end of regulation. In overtime, we got good looks every time; they just didn’t fall. We got rebounds, we got blocks, but when we got to the other end, we couldn’t make layups.”

Dutchtown came into the game with some confidence after winning two of their previous three games, but Walker jumped all over them early. They took an 8-0 lead.

Though, to end the first quarter, the Griffins got a boost from Gary Smith. His 3-pointer and tip-in at the buzzer cut the lead to 16-12 heading to the second.

Dutchtown got to within 1 there, but Walker quickly went on a 5-0 run to open up a 6-point advantage.

That’s when the Griffins caught fire.

Nick Caldwell drilled a trey, Devin Jackson had a big bucket down low and Jordan Jackson ended the half with two free throws. It all equated to an 11-0 run by Dutchtown that gave them a 33-28 lead heading into the break.

The Griffins extended their lead to 7 at the start of the third, but the Wildcats countered with a spurt that allowed them to tie the game.

Caldwell hit his fourth 3-pointer to extend the Dutchtown advantage to 3, but Walker closed the quarter with back-to-back buckets to give them a 49-48 lead heading to the fourth.

A spectacular sequence by Caldwell sparked an 8-0 run by the Griffins in the fourth to give them a 6-point advantage.

Caldwell made a put-back dunk. On the other end, he came up with a big block, went coast to cost and finished with an acrobatic layup.

That looked to be the final nail in the coffin, but Walker surged right back with a 9-3 run that tied the game.

After back of forth action, Devin Jackson was able to convert a put-back to give the Griffins the lead.

On the other end, Caldwell came up with a strong rebound. He was immediately fouled and made both free throws to give the Griffins a 3-point lead with just 18 seconds remaining.

That’s when Moore worked his magic for Walker to send the game into overtime.

In the extra period, it was all Wildcats as they pulled away for the 77-70 victory.

“We just didn’t make shots. Our first few looks on offense, we got good shots; they just didn’t fall. That was really the difference,” Hill said.

In the loss, Caldwell was terrific. He nailed five treys in a 32-point effort. Smith chipped in with 14.

Despite the loss, Coach Hill was happy with how his team battled back throughout the game.

“It was will, and where there’s a will, there’s a way. They willed themselves back, and they’ve been displaying that, for the most part, every game,” Hill said. “This was one of those games where, basically, whichever team had the ball last was gonna win. [Walker] is good. They’re not on the outside looking in, and they were without two players. That’s the mark of a good team, when you’re able to perform without some players.”

The Griffins have already won 13 games this season. That equals their win total of the past two years combined.

With a 13-7 overall record and with such a strong effort against Walker, Hill is hopeful for the future, but it was still hard for him to see any moral victories in the tough loss.

“It’s not encouraging right now, but it is what it is. You can’t rewind the tape; you just have to move on. That’s just part of the game. Hopefully, we learn from it.”

This week, the Griffins will step into district play against defending champion McKinley.