Whistles cost Pam Pack at Beddingfield

Published 1:08 am Saturday, January 14, 2017

WILSON — Malik Bell scooped up a turnover near midcourt and got a quick pass down to a waiting Sharwan Staton. He looked down, stepped back behind the 3-point line, and hoisted up a shot just a second too late.

It would have been inconsequential even if it had gone in as Washington lost, 66-52. The 14-point shortcoming isn’t the story, though. Washington showed plenty of improvement in its first game under interim coach Ralph Biggs. The Pam Pack was scrappy throughout much of the game, and was noticeably more active on both ends of the court.

“We wanted to play with more passing, more motion, everybody touch the ball and everybody get in the flow,” Biggs said. “It worked sometimes, and sometimes it got a little stagnant. For the most part, I’m happy with what they were trying to do.”

It caught up with Washington a bit in the third quarter, though. Malic Corey saved the ball from going out of bounds. Suae Poe recovered the errant, no-look pass and lobbed it to Staton, who put in a layup that gave their side a 28-27 edge heading into halftime.

Tobias Cooper’s trey knotted the game at 32 apiece with 5:10 to play in the third. Unlike in so many games this season, Washington was able to counter much of what the Bruins did. They didn’t give up any sizeable spurts. There were five lead changes in the first half, and neither team led by more than five points.

However, 10 fouls in the third period alone proved to be the difference in the game. Beddingfield got nine points at the free-throw line in the quarter, and took a 50-41 lead into the fourth.

“That really killed us,” Biggs said. “It’s bad for us because it’s hard to tell the kids to keep playing when you feel you’re playing the same way (Beddingfield) is playing, but you’re not getting nothing. It’s hard to tell them to play through it when they see the big difference.

“Both teams played man-to-man, both teams played aggressive, but it seemed like we got the bad end of it. But that’s how the game goes sometimes.”

Washington was whistled 10 times in the period. Beddingfield was called for just one foul.

It also put the Pam Pack in a bind in terms of its game plan.

“It takes your aggression and your rotation away,” Biggs said. “When you have three or four fouls, you can’t play the same way. They can’t match the intensity. … It’s hard to play through that sometimes when the discrepancy.”

Needing a comeback, Washington’s defense hunkered down in the fourth quarter. It kept the Bruins at bay for the first few minutes, but the Pam Pack couldn’t get many shots to fall on the offensive end.

Harvey McCullough got a 3-point play to pull within six, 50-44, with 5:55 left in the game. That was as close as he and the Pam Pack would get, though.