HAMMOND — Down one point in overtime with the ball, Bowman Academy's boys basketball team gave itself a chance at victory against Wesley Christian in the first Mac Jenks Tournament at Bishop Noll.
There wasn’t much more Eagle head coach Tyrone Robinson could ask for.
But Bowman’s own inbound play from under the Wesley Christian basket was bobbled. Precious time ticked off.
By the time the Eagles managed to get the ball down the floor, all the chaos of falling behind piled up in fractions of a second. Senior forward Langston Stalling stumbled as he drove his way to the basket without his feet beneath him.
Bowman never got a shot off. The Eagles fell in overtime to Wesley Christian 73-72.
“They executed,” Robinson said of the game’s difference. “They executed down the stretch and we didn’t. That’s what makes the difference.”
Wesley Christian, a program that traveled to Northwest Indiana from Allen, Kentucky, outscored Bowman 8-7 in the four-minute overtime period. The winning basket came on a post-up on their final possession.
Prior to that, Bowman appeared to have the game in hand at the end of regulation until Wesley Christian hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force the extra period. The Eagles were twice one stop away from adding a win to their own record only to suffer a loss in dramatic fashion.
“Credit to them, they hit some big shots tonight,” Robinson said. “But when we needed a stop, we made some mistakes.”
Stalling was the key cog behind Bowman’s effort, taking the bulk of the Eagles’ shot attempts and showing no hesitation driving into the lane for layups. He finished the game with 30 points, 21 of which came between the second half and overtime.
He also grabbed four rebounds, dished out three assists and grabbed two steals. That’s why, with the game on the line, Robinson put the ball in Stalling’s hands.
“He played really well for us,” Robinson said. “He put the team on his back and did everything he could do.”
Bowman (6-3) gets an almost immediate shot for redemption after suffering the loss Monday with a 2 p.m. contest today against Chicago Crane. It’ll be one of six games set to take place on day two of the two-day tournament that Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky mixed in with local teams.
So while the sting of overtime defeat may last through Monday, Bowman will have a chance at righting things in just a matter of hours.
“It’s an honor to be in this tournament,” Robinson said. “I’m happy to be invited because there’s some great teams here, and we’ve got another one (Tuesday).”