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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, January 7, 2010

Sharon Springs unstoppable, Bulldogs lose big at home

By Jordan J. Michael

BERNE –– The Bulldogs’ basketball team was left with many questions and few answers after Wednesday night’s troubling loss at home to Sharon Springs.

The Spartans (7-1) came into the Dog Pound as the defending Class D champions and put on an impressive offensive show, swallowing the Berne-Knox-Westerlo team whole. Aided by costly Bulldog mistakes, Sharon Springs held a monster 35-to-13 lead at halftime.

“We missed our open shots whenever we had the chance,” said BKW senior Ryan LaBelle after the game. “We got down early and started beating ourselves up. We realized that Sharon was the better team.”

According to BKW Head Coach Andy Wright, starting seniors Jacob Tambasco, LaBelle, Paolo Audino, and Curtis Clark have never had any real success against the current senior class of Sharon Springs.

Since middle school, the four Bulldog seniors have only beaten the Spartans once, and that came last year at home. “We’ve had a real tough time against them,” Wright said.

The hard times continued on Wednesday, right from the beginning. Sharon’s Doug Ullman established a big presence inside and finished with a game-high 18 points. Matthew Larkin drained a three and the Spartans had a 17-to-7 lead after the first quarter.

“I was real disappointed with the rebounding,” said Wright. Sharon Springs seemed to have its hand on every loose ball. “We were limited to one chance on every offensive possession because they kept grabbing rebounds,” he said.

BKW added insult to injury with poor ball handling in the game. At one point in the second quarter, the team turned it over on four straight possessions. “It didn’t look like my guys were very focused on keeping the ball,” Wright said.

The game was essentially put to rest when the Spartans opened the second quarter with a 12-to-0 run, increasing the score to 29 to 7. Zachary Bartlett hit a three-pointer to start it off and Sharon blew it open with quick transitional play.

Brad Baker, who had 12 points for Sharon Springs, was on fire in the second quarter. He hit a couple of huge threes and ran up and down the court like a madman. The Spartans went six for eight from three-point land in the first half. Every shot seemed to fall.

The second quarter ended as quickly as it began and the Bulldog faithful were left shaking their heads as the game went into halftime. BKW ended up scoring 23 points in the fourth quarter after scoring only 22 in the first three, but the game was already over.

“We came prepared because every game is a fight in this league,” said Sharon Head Coach Chris Smith. The Spartans have the smallest enrollment of any school in the Western Athletic Conference.

“We wanted to make a statement with a win, but I never thought it would be this one- sided,” said Smith. “Our offense really clicked.”

“We showed some life near the end, but it was obviously too late,” said BKW’s Audino. “The hole was dug deep and the deficit was too huge to come back.”

The Bulldogs fall to 1-3 in the Western Athletic Conference and 1-5 overall. Coach Wright is now worried about the team’s psyche after such an epic loss.

“We need to start playing a complete game,” said Wright. “We need to limit turnovers, play better defense, and run our offensive set.”

On the bright side, Wright saw some moments of trust between the Bulldog teammates. “Everyone looked to pass, and the bench guys got some minutes to build their experience,” he said.

BKW is now playing to save its season.

“We’re down right now,” said Tambasco. “But, if we play as a team we can salvage the rest of the season.”

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