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VARNA — The alarms were ringing before the game began Friday for the Tri-County Conference matchup between Hall and Midland.
Five minutes were still on the clock for warmups when the fire alarm buzzed to get the fans, teams and coaches on their feet.
No one panicked — or hardly moved for the matter — as the anticipation for the game began to mount.
The game’s intensity was there, but Hall’s shooting was not as the Red Devils fell to the Timberwolves 51-40.
“We shot in the low 20s (from the field), maybe 25 (percent) or something,” Hall coach Mike Filippini said. “You’re not going to beat many teams when you shoot 25 percent. It wasn’t for lack of effort. It wasn’t like kids didn’t try. We had a great first quarter ... then the second, third and fourth quarters, it was awful. “We couldn’t get anything going — we couldn’t get layups to go in, couldn’t get free throws to go in. When you don’t shoot the ball well, it looks bad.”
Hall (5-11, 3-2 TCC) took the lead five minutes into the first quarter when senior guard Brett Fanning drove into the lane for a layup to make the score 8-6.
Midland bounced back, scoring four straight points to reposition itself on top 10-8, but Hall answered with a layup from senior guard Matt Boucher and a 3-pointer from Fanning.
Junior guard Miguel Villarreal put the explanation point on the end of the first quarter for Hall when he drilled a 3 as the buzzer sounded.
The Red Devils entered the second frame with a 16-10 lead.
Fanning’s two free throws a minute into the second put Hall up 18-10, but the early success soon faded.
Midland (6-12, 3-2 TCC) scored six straight points on a 3 from junior guard Nick Varvil, a putback by 5-foot-9 senior point guard Zach Nelson and a free throw by junior Evan Koehler to climb within two at 18-16.
Hall hit a free throw and Varvil answered and tied the game 19-19 with another of his three 3-point baskets.
The Red Devils never tied or took the lead again.
“I think it was our defense on Brett Fanning. I know he got 11 (points), but it was a tough 11. I thought Cam Turnbull and Jake Scoon did a nice job (defensively),” Timberwolves coach Jeff Herkelman said of his game plan to stop a five-game skid. “That was a big key that we had to do — keep him from getting his 15-to-20 points. We’ve known him for two years now and the key to Hall is, if you can contain Fanning, you have a good chance.”
After scoring 16 points in the first quarter, the Red Devils only put up five in the second while Midland scored 19.
The Red Devils’ defense got back in the game after trailing by a game-high 11 points in the third by pressing the Timberwolves and trapping them on the perimeter.
The double-digit Midland lead was broke down to four at 40-36 with 4 ½ minutes remaining.
The teams traded a few baskets until the game was stalled at 44-40 with three minutes left in the game by a Midland timeout.
The Red Devils didn’t make another basket and the Timberwolves knocked down their free throws when Hall was forced to intentionally foul to make the final 51-40.
“It was a huge turning point in the game when it was 40-36 (Midland), we had the ball twice and we couldn’t get possession. ... We got the stop and a steal, Brett (Fanning) went behind his back (pass) and it went off someone else,” Filippini said. “Then we got another stop and Austin (Schmitt) had it down here and slipped when he was trying to make a pass.
“It was just one of those nights.”
Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.
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