HUNTINGTON – Bishop Dwenger tried to claw its way back into the Huntington North Class 3A Semistate in the fourth quarter against No. 3 Bowman Academy.
But the early hole was just too deep for the Saints as they fell 85-71 Saturday.
?We don?t give up,? Dwenger?s Mike Fiacable said. ?We?re a team full of passion, excitement, we never give up. We tried to claw our way back the best we could, we just came up short.?
The Saints fell behind 49-28 after the first half, thanks largely to their inability to hang onto the ball.
Dwenger (17-9) committed 16 first-half turnovers, leading to 20 points for the Eagles (22-4). The Saints had 26 turnovers in the game.
?We knew we were going to struggle with turnovers, it?s just the way they play,? coach Matt Kostoff said. ?No matter what we did at practice, you can?t simulate their speed, aggressiveness and physicality.?
Dwenger put a little dent in Bowman?s advantage in the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles 17-12 to trail 61-45 entering the fourth.
It also helped that Bowman?s most productive player in the first half, Austin Daniels, missed a large portion of the third quarter.
Daniels, who scored 16 of his 17 points in the first half, appeared to injure his right leg three minutes into the third quarter.
He was carried off the court by teammates and, after sitting with ice on his leg, was able to return to the game with about a minute to play in the third.
Anthony Cole scored 21 for Bowman, and Arthur Haggard III had 11. Justin King, who averages 14.6 points, scored 10, and Davon Dillard, who averages 17 points, had nine.
?If you have told me King and Dillard had 19 total points, I think we win the game,? Kostoff said. ?The Daniels kid, he carried him. ? He played good and the Cole kid. That?s what great teams do. The role players stepped up.?
Dwenger stepped up after halftime, as its relentless attack got the Saints in the double bonus with a minute to play in the third. That allowed them to get close by going to the line, where they made 26 of 35 attempts in the game.
A couple of timely 3-pointers also helped as Ryan Christman hit a 3 with 2:51 to play to cut Bowman?s lead to 73-64.
After two free throws from Grady Eifert, Christman hit another 3 with 1:52, and the deficit shrank to 74-69.
?We just wanted to focus on chipping away,? Eifert said. ?We were down at 20, and we just wanted to keep chipping away at that lead.
?We eventually did, but we just couldn?t get over that last hump.?
Bowman pumped its lead back up to double digits in the next 1 1/2 minutes, and Dillard put the exclamation point on the victory with an alley-oop dunk with 25.4 seconds to play that gave the Eagles an 83-71 lead.
?You can?t get down to a team like that,? Kostoff said.
?You use so much energy, and we got it down to five. And then they hit shots. ? And Dillard got the ESPN Top 10 highlight dunk at the end there.?
Eifert finished with 21 points, and Kyle Hartman added 18. Fiacable scored 16.
The Saints were playing in the program?s fourth semistate and first since 1996.
?You do something that only four teams in school history have done, and there is some satisfaction in that,? Kostoff said.