(Full story) Braham was not close to showing its “A” game Friday night, March 23, in the Class AA semifinals, while opponent Plainview-Elgin-Millville displayed a crisp passing attack and hounding defense to advance to Saturday afternoon’s championship game with an 84-67 win over the Bombers on the Target Center floor.
The game was 9-7 when P-E-M tore off a 9-0 run as Braham’s shooters struggled to dial in at the Target. The closest the Bombers got the rest of the way was 20-15 after Cam Braund made a steal and fed Tyler Vaughan for a breakaway. But the Bombers followed with an uncharacteristic turnover stretch because of the ‘Dog defense. The Bulldogs’ Cory Speer (23 points for game) fed another frenzy with his ‘3’ shooting and driving which built a 36-17 advantage.
“Wow– they shot the lights out. I mean, we played as hard as we could,” described Klemz of the Bulldogs’ attack. “But when they shoot 50 percent from the ‘3’ and shoot well every well else, there’s not much you can do. They beat us– they’re good.”
Vaughan, constantly drawing double and sometimes triple shadows on the perimeter, battled hard in the second half by scoring 12 straight Braham points which had the lead down to 49-37. The Bulldogs then began attacking the hoop with very slick passing, producing an 82-62 lead before the starters subbed out.
“They went a Diamond-and-One on me, and it was tough,” said T. Vaughan. “We didn’t hit our shots like we normally do, and they shot 8-for-17 from the three-point line, or something like that. We were trying to make them shooters, and that didn’t really work. They’re a great team.”
Vaughan scored 35 with 10 boards; Braund was tough inside on offense for the Bombers with 14 points and 5 rebounds. Collectively, Braham went 6-for-27 (22.2%) from the arc. Both teams had 18 turnovers in the game— kind of a surprising since it felt like the Bombers had more than P-E-M.
Said Coach Vaughan of the Bulldogs on Saturday following the 3rd-place game, “They’ve really come on at the end of the year. Earlier, they had some mono problems and one guy got hurt, then they all got back. They have speed, they have power, they have leaping ability. I’d be shocked if they don’t win it all (P-E-M went on to defeat Litchfield 55-39 in the “AA” championship later Saturday afternoon).
“That was as good a team as we played all year, and that includes Hopkins. I mean, I don’t know how bad we played, they just made every shot in the first half. We gave great effort and came back in the second half. I give all the credit to them.”
More stats:Bias 9 points/2 assists; Dahlman 5 points/1 rebound; Klemz 2 points; Hollenkamp 2 points/2 rebounds.