GOLDEN-It was close.
Able to shake off an early Colorado Academy scoring burst in the second quarter, and stay easily within striking distance at halftime down just 31-26, Bayfield was unable to get any closer the rest of the way in losing 60-44 Thursday morning in the 3A boys basketball finals.
Consecutive baskets by senior guard Dillon Hoselton pulled the Great Eight's ultimate underdog back to 44-38 early in the fourth quarter inside Colorado School of Mines' Lockridge Arena, but Academy (19-6 overall) rode the strong play of 6'4" junior Justin Bassey and 6'1" classmate Christian Hyatt all the way to the finish. Hyatt-who scored a game-best 21 points-was given the honors of dribbling out the dying seconds.
6'7" senior center Preston Hardy netted 12 first-half points, finished with that many, and hauled in a game-high 10 rebounds for the Wolverines (13-11). Unfortunately, he went out in the third with a wrist injury. Senior guard Conner Kennedy registered 11 and five, and freshman forward starter Ryan Phelps posted seven and four.
Hoselton ended with five points and foul-plagued junior forward Zane Phelps managed just two.
Bayfield actually out-rebounded Colorado Academy 36-30, but shot just 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from long range as opposed to the Mustangs' 9-of-24 (37.5 percent.) BHS also committed 14 turnovers to CA's six.
Up next, BHS will play at 1:15 p.m. today versus the loser of yesterday's game between Faith Christian and Jefferson Academy, with a fifth-place finish still possible at the 2015 Class 3A state championships. The Ignacio Bobcat boys played Rye in the 2A Great 8 last night at CSU-Pueblo after the Times went to press.