by Scott Boyle
Free throw: An unhindered basketball shot from the foul line; given to penalize the other team for committing a foul. Also known as a charity shot, charity throw, charity toss, foul shot, penalty free throw.
Using the free throw to deadly efficient effect, the MHS Buckaroos boys basketball team swept the season series against the San Juan Broncos last week in Monticello to the tune of a 67-49 victory.
The Buckaroos were 25 of 32 from the free throw line for the game, including a game winning effort of 14 for 16 in just the last three minutes of the fourth quarter that broke open a close game. Matt Freestone did most of the damage, connecting on 10 of 11 charity shots.
The Broncos, ranked #3 in 2A, made a game of it for most of the night, although they led only twice, at 2-0 to start the game and 13-12 just seconds into the second quarter.
Jaden Torgerson led two other Broncos in double figures with 13 points on the night. Jordan Blake, with 12, and Caleb Pugh, with 10, were the other players in double figures.
But it was the balanced scoring of the Buckaroos, especially from the foul line, that won the night for MHS.
In addition to Matt Freestone’s night at the foul line (he also led the Bucks in scoring with 16 points), Eli Johnson connected for 14 points, was 4-4 from the foul line and had the only treys on the night for MHS, with two.
Nolan Freestone also hit double figures with 12 points, including 2-2 on free throws. Tyler Bird had seven points, with 5-6 on foul shots, the same as Austin Hart off the bench, who had seven points and one of two charity shots.
With a small lead most of the night, the Bucks forced the Broncos into quick offense, and the Bronco shots just weren’t dropping. The Bucks led 12-11 after the first quarter and squeaked it out to a four-point lead at halftime, 23-19.
Nolan Freestone and Johnson led the Bucks in the first half with eight and seven points, respectively.
Torgerson was the leading Bronco scorer in the first half with six and Blake added four.
The teams traded baskets in the third quarter. But with the Bucks leading by four at 35-31, Johnson hit a trey followed by three quick baskets by Hart, Matt Freestone and Talon Black. Suddenly the lead was at 13, 44-31.
You know the Broncos are gonna comeback, which they did, led by Torgerson, Pugh and Blake. They kept fighting and pulled within three points, at 49-46, with 2:50 left in the game before the Buckaroo charity parade took over.
Carson Duncan hit a shot to give the Bucks a five point lead at the 2:50 mark. After a Bronz Eldredge foul shot, the Bucks reeled off 12 straight points, ten from the foul line, as the Broncos fouled to try to get back into the game.
Coach Tony Esplin’s Buckaroos were 18 of 23 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter alone.
The win, the seventh straight for MHS, raises their record to 13-2 on the season.
Assist: Attributed to a player who passes the ball to a teammate in a way that leads to a score by field goal, meaning that he or she was “assisting” in the basket.
Friday night in Monticello, the Bucks defeated the Whitehorse Raiders, 80-46, to clinch at least a tie for the Region 19 championship at 6-0, 14-2 on the season.
And the Bucks were at their teammate best in this one, assisting on 15 of their 18 first half baskets to pull away from the Raiders. The Raiders showed they were ready to play though, trailing just 15-12 after one quarter, but the Buckaroos got their passing game in action and outscored the Raiders 28-7 in the second quarter to lead 43-19 at halftime.
It was a 19-9 advantage in the third quarter that got the Bucks to their biggest advantage at 62-28 after three quarters.
Four Buckaroos hit double figures, led by Matt Freestone, who had a double-double with a season and career high 23 points and 10 rebounds against the Raiders. Freestone was 11 of 16 from the field, shooting 69 percent.
Also in double figures were Tyler Bird and Eli Johnson, who both scored 11 points. Bird also had eight of the 22 assists the Bucks had on the night and four steals, while Johnson had seven rebounds and four assists.
Andrew Torres scored 10 points on 4-6 shooting, including two treys. Off the bench, Austin Hart added nine points and starter Nolan Freestone added seven, including his first trey of the year and just his third in his high school career.
Clinch: To fix or secure (a nail or bolt, for example) by hammering down.
By hammering down on the Lady Raiders Friday night in Monticello, the Lady Buckaroos clinched at least a tie for the Region 19 championship, with a record of 7-0 and 13-5 overall.
The #3 ranked Bucks handled the Raiders quite nicely, 62-15.
In fact, Atlanta Black’s 17 points outscored the entire Raider team. She also had six rebounds, three assists and three steals for an outstanding all-around night.
Black was eight for 11 from the field as the ladies shot 54 percent as a team on the night, 27-54.
Allie Maughan was five of eight from the field for 12 points, while three other Lady Buckaroos added six points, Michaela Wolford, Kari Schmidt, and Tymbr Black.
The only dark spot for the Buckaroos was an eight for 23 night at the free throw line.
The Bucks play for the region title Tuesday night in Monticello against the Green River Pirates.
Winning streak: Consecutive wins in sports.
The #3 Lady Bucks 11-game winning streak came to an end Saturday afternoon in Monticello at the hands of the Duchesne Eagles, ranked #2 in 1A.
You’ll be excited to know, however, that even though the Bucks lost, 43-39, the way they played and hung in there gives them lots of confidence going into the Green River game and the state tournament itself next week.
Duchesne looked to run the Bucks out of their own gym in the first quarter, racing to a 10-2 lead, but the Bucks recovered nicely, and actually led 12-10 after one quarter.
Duchesne led at halftime, 23-21, but knew they had a battle on their hands. The Bucks stayed close, though Duchesne led most of the second half, and even closed to within two points at 38-36 with just two minutes remaining, but they just couldn’t overcome the Duchesne lead.
The Lady Eagles scored four points in the next minute, holding the Bucks scoreless until an Atlanta Black three with just seven seconds left to notch the win.
Black led the Bucks in scoring, tossing in 21 points, including five of six from the foul line. Kari Schmidt had six points in the losing effort.
The End: Come or bring to a final point; finish.