BKW looking for more rebounds

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Brushing off the defense to score for Berne-Knox-Westerlo is Justin Houck during last Friday’s Class C play-in game against Cambridge in Berne. Houck scored 23 points in the 75-to-68 win, and the Bulldogs, seeded 14th, moved on to play at Waterford, seeded third, on Wednesday in the first round of Class C sectionals.

BERNE — For what Berne-Knox-Westerlo has in quickness, it lacks in height. The Bulldogs have struggled with rebounding this season because the players are usually facing taller opponents.

Heading into the fourth quarter with a 15-point lead against Cambridge last Friday during the Class C play-in game, BKW could no longer rebound the basketball. With possession in its favor, Cambridge was able to close the gap to two points, 62 to 60.

The Bulldogs pulled out a victory anyway, 75 to 68, but its rebounding woes almost cost BKW its season.

“We were tired,” Zack Hilton, who scored 26 points for BKW, said of Friday’s fourth quarter. “We get tired because everyone is bigger than us.”

Cambridge was scoring on put-backs off of the offensive boards and running transition off of the defensive boards as BKW had trouble with boxing out. Also, two questionable foul calls — a flagrant foul on Justin Houck for a push and a tripping penalty on Slade Pulliam that fouled him out of the game — didn’t help the Bulldogs either.

“You can’t let other teams out-rebound you; they’ll score bucket after bucket,” said BKW Head Coach Tim Moseman. “We have to gang-rebound, send everybody to the boards. Once we get the rebound, we can break with our speed.”

That pace, mainly from Hilton and Houck, who combined for 49 points, is what allowed BKW to control Cambridge in the first place. Pulliam and Eddie Slaver also had their moments of impact as the Bulldogs raced the Indians up and down the floor for the first 24 minutes last Friday.

However, when the rebounding margin tipped heavily in Cambridge’s favor, BKW started to lose power. Moseman told The Enterprise that every Bulldogs’ player needs to rebound better if they expect to beat Waterford, the three seed, on Wednesday in the Class C first round.

BKW lost to Waterford, 64 to 59, finishing the season at 11-10.

Up in the air: Berne-Knox-Westerlo defeated Cambridge, 75 to 68, in a Class C play-in game last Friday for a spot in the first round of the tournament. Here, the ball gets away from Zack Hilton, right, who scored a game-high 26 points for the Bulldogs; he made five three-pointers. BKW lost at Waterford on Wednesday. The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael


Houck says that BKW doesn’t have a player over 6 feet tall. The roster lists Slaver and Mike Flower at 6 feet, 1 inch; Hilton and Nick Porter are listed at 6 feet.

“We don’t have a pure rebounding threat, but we have kids that bust their butts to get rebounds by being physical and tough,” Moseman said. “If we’re going up against opponents that are taller, then they will get some second and third chances on us.”

When the game is on the line in the fourth quarter, players hit the boards with more aggression, and BKW comes up short sometimes.

Long arm: Justin Houck, middle, the point guard for Berne-Knox-Westerlo, tries to split the defense of Cambridge’s Shawn Lemeiux, right, and Chris Warnke during the fourth quarter of last Friday’s Class C play-in game. The Bulldogs won, 75 to 68, and Houck scored 23 points. BKW lost on Wednesday, 64 to 59, at Waterford. The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael 


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