The Wolverines hit the snooze button Saturday morning.
When the Bayfield High School girls basketball team finally got its wake-up call, it was the halftime buzzer. By then, the Wolverines’ starters had spent so much time flailing around in their dreams, they found themselves in a substitution nightmare.
Three of Bayfield’s starters fouled out, and the Alamosa Mean Moose rode the foul line into overtime, then to a 53-52 Intermountain League victory over the Wolverines in extra time at BHS.
“If we hadn’t put them on the line so many times, it would’ve been a totally different ballgame,” BHS head coach Ronnie Posey said.
Alamosa’s Elise Tolley swished consecutive free throws with 45 seconds remaining to tie the game at 46-all, and the Wolverines got lucky when Alamosa missed back-to-back game-winners before the buzzer.
In extra time, Haley Clarke took charge for Bayfield, driving into the paint possession after possession and drawing the whistle.
After shooting just better than 30 percent from the foul line as a team during regulation, Clarke gave the Wolverines an emotional and statistical boot, hitting four of six free throws to precede a layup.
She was the only Bayfield player to score in the extra period, and she finished with 12 points, six of them in extra time.
But the inexperience and nerves hit the Wolverines hard with a meager 52-49 lead. They committed three turnovers in a row in the final minutes of overtime – a traveling violation, a 5-second inbound violation and a charge – and a Mean Moose layup from Blake Faucett produced the final margin. Faucett led all scorers with 15 points.
“Nerves,” Bayfield substitute Carrie Yost said. “Especially for the ones off the bench. We haven’t had as much experience in high-pressure situations.”
Jaida Ross said the Wolverines might not have found themselves short-staffed to close the game if they’d started it with more intensity and better focus.
“We came out really flat, and it just took us too long to find our legs,” Posey said.
A handful of Bayfield’s starters already had racked up three fouls by halftime, thinning out the bench ranks and giving the Moose countless free shots.
Alamosa scored 19 points on free throws Saturday, including a stretch to close out the first half where six points of an 8-2 Mean Moose run came from the line and allowed Alamosa to go into halftime down by a point, 17-16, with the BHS starters in foul trouble.
Posey said he was impressed with the bench’s work in a difficult situation, but the fouls still left the Wolverines in a bind.
“You can’t go into halftime with three fouls,” Posey said. “You just can’t do that. We don’t lose (talent) on the floor, but we’re out of substitutes,” he said.
The halfway buzzer woke everybody up, but Alamosa jumped out of bed first. The Moose took their first leads since going up 4-0 to start the game at 19-17, then 22-19 when Brooke Trujillo knocked down two consecutive 3-pointers.
Both teams ramped up the defensive intensity in the second half, switching into full-court presses and man-to-man defensive schemes that churned out turnovers and even more fouls. That knocked leading Bayfield scorer Micaela Knickerbocker from the game halfway through the fourth quarter, and she shortly was followed by Destinee McGhehey.
“It feels like you can’t do anything,” said Ross, who also watched the final minutes of the game from the sideline after fouling out in overtime.
Knickerbocker finished with 13 points, and McGhehey added nine for BHS.
Bayfield (7-7, 1-3 IML) will host Ignacio at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at BHS.