Lions beat Bearcats on buzzer beater

Joran Parker (2) led the Bearcats with 17 points Friday against Ouachita at the RHS Main Gym. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright

Sometimes mentality means as much during ball games as physicality.

Ruston High School boys basketball coach Ryan Bond feels that part of the game was costly to his Bearcats Friday night.

Ouachita’s Jonathan Bradshaw’s layup a split second before the final buzzer sounded proved to be the difference Friday night as the Lions escaped with a 57-56 win over the Bearcats at the RHS Main Gym.

That came after Ruston led by as many as 10 points (52-41) iwith 5:05 remaining.

In a back and forth game throughout all 48 minutes, the physical contest was tied at 8-8 at the end of the opening stanza while Ouachita took a 21-20 lead into the locker room at intermission.

The third quarter saw much of the same, with a layup by Ruston’s Lonnie Dimmer with 1:13 remaining in the third quarter giving the Bearcats a 32-29 advantage heading into the final stanza. 

Ruston pushed its advantage to 39-30 with 4:45 remaining on a pair of inside buckets by Malcom Pierce followed by a Jordan Parker layup, but the Lions roared back by scoring eight straight to make a one-point contest with 2:55 left on the clock.

A long jumper by Ouachita’s Tyler Modica put the Lions up 40-39 at the 2:32 mark of the second quarter, but Ruston’s (25) nailed a pair of free throws with 1:53 remaining to put the Bearcats back on top 41-40.

But the Bearcats failed to slow down Ouachita’s attack in the final meeting, setting up Bradshaw’s final second heroics.

RHS coach Ryan Bond said mentality was as costly as anything else for his Bearcats.

“There’s a lot of things that cost us, and a lot of it isn’t court-related,” Bond said. “It was outside of the basketball court. All year we’ve had a cohesive unit. We picked a terrible time the last couple of days to not be cohesive.

“Off the court, there are some things that have gone on that I’m not going to go into detail about,” Bond said. “If you throw it right to them and turn it over, if you can’t make free throws and layups, and don’t guard, then you’re not going to win. We’ve talked over and over again about what a good team Ouachita is and the fact they’ve got pride, they’ve got tradition. But you still have to play defense.”

Bond didn’t see that in his team against the Lions.

“Numerous times tonight, we’d say something in the huddle and they went out and did the exact opposite,” Bond said. “Double digits turnovers in the fourth quarter when we average 13 per game on the year? You can’t win like that. It’s uncharacteristic, but the good thing is that we’ve got a lot of district (games) lef. We still have a lot of basketball games left. It’s disappointing because the guys have worked and worked for it.”

But in the end, Bond feels they let it get away.

“They’re kids,” Bond said. “Ultimately, it’s my fault. All we can do now is get ready for Pineville and go from there.”

Parker led Ruston with 17 points while Lontavioys Dimmer, Zhy Scott and Aiden Anding added 11 points each for the Bearcats.

Bradshaw topped all scorers with 18 points while Zion Weeks added 16 for the Lions. 

Ruston (18-2 overall, 1-1 in District 2-5A) will next play at Pineville (13-6 and 0-2 in District 2-5A) on Tuesday.