NORTH BEND — It wasn’t the way North Bend's boys basketball team wanted to close 2018.
The visiting Elmira Falcons held the Bulldogs scoreless in the third quarter and despite a 22-point final period from the hosts, held off North Bend 51-46 on Saturday night in a non-league contest.
North Bend's Devante Byers draws a foul as he drives to the basket Saturday against Elmira at North Bend High School.
“(We’re) pretty upset,” Brady Messner said. “We should’ve won that. We should’ve played harder defense and we should’ve won that game.”
It was a frustrating outing for the Bulldogs, one that coach Bill Callaway put on himself for not getting the Bulldogs up for the final game of the calendar year.
Stellar senior Jayden Frank did the majority of scoring again, accounting for half (23) of the Bulldogs’ points. Nobody else was in double figures, but Gracen Porter hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half, Messner hit 3s in each half and Garrison Mateski hit one in the early going.
North Bend’s largest lead came in the second quarter, when Frank slipped into the passing lane and threw down a two-handed dunk on the fast break for a 23-19 lead with 43 seconds left in the second quarter.
North Bend's Jake Simmons drives the ball as Elmira's Riley Chambers defends Saturday at North Bend High School.
But Christian Davis, who had 16 points for the Falcons, came right down and hit a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left to cut the lead to one at 23-22. Devante Byers hit a free throw to send North Bend up two.
But then disaster struck.
The North Bend offense grew stagnant in the third quarter, leading Callaway to empty the bench, sitting the starters and inserting seldom-used upper- and underclassmen.
“I thought about doing it in the second quarter and maybe that would’ve been a better move,” Callaway said. “They just came out and played the way you’re supposed to -- as good as they can play. Just too late.”
The backups slowed the Falcons somewhat, but a Keegan Cook three-point play gave Elmira its largest lead of 10 at 34-24 after three periods.
With his starters heading back in, Callaway loudly reminded his team that they’ve only scored 24 points before, more quietly, coming up with a plan.
That plan largely involved getting Frank the ball. The senior made his first four shots, helping create a 19-4 run to get North Bend back in it with points from Mateski, Frank and Jake Simmons.
Messner’s only second-half 3-pointer cut the lead to one at 44-43 with 1:21 left, then Davis hit a couple free throws after a foul, and Cook made one of two at the line with 44 ticks left. Frank then hit is second 3 of the night once again cutting the deficit to one at 47-46, this time with 35 seconds left, but the Bulldogs got no closer.
Davis added three free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
“We just gotta bounce back,” Callaway said. “That’s sports. That’s life. We gotta come back. To win basketball games, you gotta stay sharp.”
North Bend hosts Crater in Midwestern League play on Friday at 6:30 p.m.