Senior guard Conner Kennedy's running three-pointer in Tuesday night's waning seconds gave the BHS Gymnasium faithful one last measure of a prayer, but Pagosa Springs freshman Isaiah Griego knocked down two free throws in swift reply to put Bayfield down for good, 44-39.
Seven second-half points from senior guard Trevor Gabbard and six from senior center Preston Hardy helped the Wolverines outscore the Pirates 23-22 during the third and fourth quarters, despite PSHS junior forward/center Briar Erskine netting 12 points, but the visitors' attack in the initial eight minutes forced the hosts to play catch-up non-stop.
The more pressing problem dogging Bayfield was of a mental sort.
Multiple missed shots from close range were one issue, but preservation of the players' composure when things went wrong became paramount for boss Jeff Lehnus and his staff-themselves often heated to numerous boils in response to several dubious on-court rulings.
Visibly and vocally irate with himself after missing a virtual "gimme" (at least by his 6'7" standards) at the rim during the second quarter, Hardy gave the squad a badly-needed adrenalin boost with an unplanned three-pointer, but the Pirates still led 22-16 at halftime.
Hardy finished with a team-best 12 points, while Kennedy and Gabbard each totaled seven on Senior Night. Classmate Dillon Hoselton scraped together six points, freshman forward Ryan Phelps came alive in the second half for his five, and senior guard Matthew Knickerbocker scored two off the bench.
Standing 9-8 overall but 1-6 in the IML, Bayfield's regular season wrapped up last night in La Jara at Centauri (9-9, 3-4). Results were unavailable at press time.