Down to the wire
Barbato’s shot lifts Alcona boys past Posen in season opener
LINCOLN–Robbie Barbato made just two shots for the Alcona boys basketball team in its season opener Monday.
But his last shot of the night turned out to be the right one at the right time for the Tigers.
Barbato drilled a field goal from just inside the three-point line with four seconds left to lift the Tigers past Posen 44-42 in the season opener for both teams. Barbato got a pass on the wing, passed up a three-point attempt, ducked inside a Posen defender and hit the game-winning shot.
It was the second of successful field goal attempts for Barbato, who hit a triple midway through the fourth quarter, but the game-winning play unfolded exactly like Alcona coach Ryan Bilbey hoped it would.
“We had a look at a three and we had that action (outside shooting) working in the last quarter. We just wanted to get a good look for him and we did,” Bilbey said. “It’s nice when it works out the way you draw it up once in a while.”
Posen got three seconds left to attempt the tying shot, but fell short.
Barbato’s game-winner came at the end of a scrappy, but perhaps somewhat uneven performance from both teams. The two sides made enough good plays to keep things close the whole way, but they struggled with turnovers and playing smart offensively.
“I thought both teams worked their tails off for the first game of the year. Posen and Alcona, every one of these kids battled and that’s really what you want to see,” Bilbey said. “You obviously want to come out on top and we did, but I was happy with their effort.”
Posen led by four, 39-35, with 4:31 left, but Alcona wasn’t done battling. Mason Clark scored inside with 4:06 left to cut the lead to two then tied the game with a baseline drive with 2:45 remaining.
Chris Barnes drilled a three-pointer to give Alcona the lead with 1:54 left until Lucas Stone answered with a triple with 22 seconds to go.
It was a frustrating ending for the Vikings, who led by as many as six in the fourth quarter.
“In a two-point game, what do you do? It is what it is. We did a lot right and our defense was tight. We created a lot of turnovers for them, but creating turnovers without converting doesn’t matter,” Posen coach Chris Keller said. “We’ll go back and tighten up the rebounding and tighten up the offensive efficiency.”
Clark led a balanced Alcona offensive effort with 12 points. Aidan Wrobel, who was a steady inside presence for Alcona all night, added 11 and Gavin Walker chipped in with eight.
Cameron Paull paced the Vikings with 16 points and five rebounds, Stone had 13 points and eight rebounds and Wyatt Romel had eight points and four rebounds.
Eyan Hincka had five rebounds for Posen
A strong third quarter effort from Stone helped pull the Vikings ahead 35-32 after three quarters. Stone scored nine of his 13 points in the third quarter, creating turnovers for scores while also driving inside for buckets in the paint.
Posen led several times in the third quarter, but Alcona always seemed to have an answer. Barnes drilled a triple from the top of the key to tie the game at 30 with 2:46 left and Walker scored late to tie the game 32-32 before a last-second make by Stone.
Alcona led 11-8 after one quarter and 23-22 at halftime, despite failing to convert turnovers into baskets. Posen finished the game with 14 turnovers, including nine in the first half.
“It’s going to be hard to beat a team like that when you have 14 turnovers. That’s just what it is; you can’t turn the ball over 14 times,” Keller said. “The only way we could seem to tighten up was to slow our offense down. We did that, but we didn’t convert.”
Both teams are back in action on Thursday. Posen hosts Wolverine and Alcona plays at Tawas.
BOX SCORE: Field goals made/Free Throws Made/Free Throws Attempted/Total Points
ALCONA (44): N. Rasmussen 1 0-1 2; A. Wrobel 4 3-3 11; G. Walker 4 0-0 8; M. Clark 6 0-2 12; C. Barnes 2 0-0 6; R. Barbato 2 0-0 5.
POSEN (42): C. Paull 8 0-2 16; L. Stone 6 1-1 13; W. Romel 3 1-2 8; E. Hincka 1 0-0 2; A. Brunet 1 0-0 2.