In 1961, the great American balladeer, Burl Ives, had a hit song “A little bitty tear let me down.”
The Vandal boys had that feeling when missed free throws let them down in a tough 49-45 home loss to the Owyhee Braves last week.
Coach Fred Minoletti said, “We led the whole game, even into the fourth quarter and then we allowed Owyhee to get hot and score 22 points that period.” That gave the Braves the surprising come from behind win.
Eureka led 34-24 going into the fourth quarter, but the Braves outdid them 22-11 in the final period.
“We turned the ball over too many times in the fourth, missed some layups,” Minoletti said. “Chace Green fouled out with about a minute and a half left. We were tied at that point. We had opportunities to tie it ourselves, but those missed free throws let us down.”
The win kept the Braves tied with Jackpot and Wells for the league lead, all unbeaten at this early point in the season. Eureka dropped to 1-1.
Minoletti expressed a bit of frustration when he said, “What we need to do is improve on closing out games and avoid the silly mistakes and unforced errors. It’s hard to lose an important league game like that since every game is going to be highly contested. However, we know what we are capable of and need to start playing to our potential.”
Against Owyhee, Green was the team leader with 13 points and Gavyn Bowling added 10.
The night before, the Vandals (4-7,1- 1) had an easy time dispatching winless Carlin 59-11. Green poured in 21 points and Bowling had 14. All but two of the Vandals scored in the game.
This weekend things will continue to be highly contested too, as the team is on the road to Jackpot (8-1, 2-0) and Wells (7-6, 3-0).
Jackpot has won the last five meetings between the teams. Eureka has won eight of the last 10 against Wells, but the teams did split last year.