Sometimes no matter how well a shot is defended, it still goes in.
Big Foot learned that the hard way in a 53-52 loss at Whitewater on Jan. 11.
As the clock ran down, the Chiefs had tight double-team coverage draped over Carter Brown. But the senior guard hit a step-back, fadeaway two-pointer at the buzzer for the win.
“We had two guys in the exact right place in the exact right time and sometimes the basketball gods just send down a blessing to someone on a last second shot and that’s what happened,” Big Foot head coach Hunter Price said.
Early in the game, the score was not as close as the final tally.
Big Foot took a 2-0 lead on the game’s opening possession off a layup by senior guard Eli Greco, but then the Chiefs’ offense went ice cold for more than eight minutes. The scoreless streak allowed Whitewater to go ahead 15-2.
A three-pointer by Big Foot junior guard Basil Demco snapped the drought at 9:51 to make it 15-5 and started a slow, but sure, Chiefs comeback.
With 1:27 left in the half, junior wing Gus Foster made a pair of free throws that tied the score, 21-21. The Chiefs scored four points to Whitewater’s two in the remaining time and Big Foot had a 25-23 lead at the break.
While Price credited his team for overcoming the slow start with a strong comeback late in the half, he admitted that everyone in the program needs to find an answer for the team’s slow starts.
“We’ve got to figure out how to come out with urgency without having to get knocked down a few times before we turn it on,” Price said. “I think it just boiled down to a lack of urgency at the start.”
The second half was the exact opposite of the first as neither team could create much separation from the other.
Whitewater’s largest lead was four points, which came at the 12:20 mark at 39-35. Big Foot’s biggest advantage was 47-44 with 5:28 left in the game. In both cases, the other team grabbed held the lead again a few minutes later.
Down the stretch, Big Foot was in the driver’s seat. Foster hit a jump shot at 1:26 to put Big Foot ahead 52-50. But the Chiefs twice missed the front end of one-and-one free throws, while the Whippets went 1-for-2 from the line, which gave Whitewater enough breathing room to be saved by the late heroics.
Free throw shooting was a problem for the Chiefs, who went 7-for-14 from the line. The team tries to play hard and physical, and shooting poorly from the charity stripe is not ideal, Price said.
Big Foot doesn’t lack of shooters—they score well from three-point range—but Price said he believes the team’s free throw issues started early in the season and have continued.
“Free throws are 99% mental, and I think what’s happening is we’re worried about making it so badly that we’re not able to just freely shoot it,” Price said.
Foster led the Chiefs in scoring with 21 points.
The Big Foot boys picked up their largest margin of victory of the year on Jan. 5, beating Rock Valley Conference rival Jefferson 67-46 at Walworth.
This was not the first time the Chiefs topped the Eagles: BFHS won 66-52 in the first game of the season on Dec. 11.
The Chiefs had a 30-21 lead at halftime. They continued to widen the advantage in the second half, outscoring the Eagles 37-25 to wrap up the 21-point win.
Big Foot’s Foster set a new career high with 35 points, breaking the record of 32 points he set in the first game against Jefferson in December. Junior forward Tyler Wilson had a solid offensive performance, scoring 18.
The Chiefs’ margin of victory record did not last long, as Big Foot picked up a even bigger win on Jan. 8 with a 74-33 victory at Clinton.
The Chiefs built up a 17-point lead by halftime, 35-18, then outscored the Cougars by 24 in the second half for a 41-point win.
Big Foot has balanced scoring, with five players netting between 10 and 16 points. Freshman guard Hudson Torrez led the team with 16.
On Jan. 9, Big Foot was back at it with a home game against Milwaukee Academy of Science, which the Novas won 66-50.
It was a tight contest in the first half, with the Novas ahead 33-26 at halftime. The game opened up in the second half, though, with a 33-24 advantage for Academy of Science.
Milwaukee senior guard Donald McHenry led all scorers with 32 points. Foster was the leader for Big Foot with 21 points. Sophomore guard Eli Gerdes also hit double digits with 10 points.