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Sports Article
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Bears' Rally Falls Short in Boyertown Tournament
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Correspondent

Boyertown's Eric Spohn lays up at the basket in Monday night's first game of the Boyertown Invitational Tournament against Southern Lehigh.

        Though Boyertown erased a 12-point deficit down the stretch Tuesday, head coach Mike Ludwig took no solace in his team's effort in a 42-41 loss to Governor Mifflin in the consolation game of the Boyertown Invitational Tournament.

        "We've got to figure out a way to win that game," Ludwig said. "We didn't finish when we had the opportunity."

        The host Bears utilized a strong second half to force a 41-41 tie. Ben Longacre's layup with approximately one minute remaining to capped a 15-3 flurry.

        Down a point with 27.9 seconds to go, Boyertown called an offensive play with three options, according to Ludwig.

        The team got one of those options, a 3-point shot from the top of the key. But Longacre's shot bounced high off the rim. The Mustangs corralled the long rebound to preserve their victory.

        "The kids executed the play fine," the coach said. "One of our best shooters took a good shot, but it just didn't fall."

        According to Longacre, the Bears (7-4) need to convert shots like that if they hope to return the Pioneer Athletic Conference's Final Four.

        "That shot has got to fall," the senior said. "It all comes down to execution. We need to do that if we want to win. This was a disappointing loss."

        Longacre and Jerry Kapp each finished with 11 points for Boyertown, which has lost three straight games.    Marcus Thomas scored a game-high 12 points, converting 10 of 12 free throws.

        Thomas scored seven points and Longacre added five points late in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter to help the team erase a 38-26 hole.

        "We really stepped up our intensity in the fourth quarter," Longacre said.

        According to Ludwig, the Bears have grown accustomed to playing close games. In a 50-49 loss to Methacton in Dec. 22, they failed to convert a shot from the field on their final possession.

        The coach said five of his team's games have been decided by six points or less.

        "We've won our fair share of those contests," Ludwig said.

        On Tuesday, Gov. Mifflin built a 21-10 lead midway through the second quarter with a 14-2 run. The Berks County team reeled off six consecutive points in the third quarter to go ahead 38-26.

        "We did not execute well in the middle quarters," Ludwig said. "We dug ourselves too much of a hole."

        Boyertown opened the tournament Monday with a 68-50 loss to Southern Lehigh. Thomas posted a team-high 16 points and Kapp added nine for the Bears, who trailed 22-9 after one quarter and 48-21 at halftime.

        Ludwig and Longacre described the Spartans as the best team they have faced all season.

        "Southern Lehigh is extremely talented," the coach said. "They have size and some quick guards."

        With just two returning starters, Kapp and Longacre, and a third with previous varsity experience, senior Eric Spohn, Ludwig said his team is working hard to return to the PAC-10 playoffs.

        "This is a great group of guys," the coach said. "They want to play together. We're in position to get back to the Final Four, and the players are going to battle for it."






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