Free throws in basketball, while not as sexy as 3-pointers and dunks, more times than not play an important part in determining the game’s outcome. The foul line, 15 feet from the rim is also known as the charity stripe, implying that free points are handed out here.
On Friday night in Cambridge there were no freebies to be found for Tamarac as the Bengals took ten second half trips to the line and came away empty, in the Indians exciting 39-37 victory.
Cambridge’s Ben Epler scored the first five points of the game on a deuce and a triple, to which Bengals sophomore guard Zachary Rice answered in kind with a long three, followed by a steal and score, knotting things at 5-5 just 2:30 into the first.
Rice connected on another long ball with :45 left in the period for a 8-7 Tamarac lead, but at the buzzer the Indians Brian Hall got a floater to go off a nice spin move giving Cambridge the 9-8 edge.
Two minutes into the second frame. a bucket and one by the Bengals’ Dalton Maxon started a 11-3 Tamarac run, that included a Joey Poulin triple and three points from Rocco DiCarlo, that sent the teams to the halftime break with the Bengals holding a 21-14 advantage.
The third quarter belonged to the Indians and Jeffery Burke. The junior forward scored 12 points in the period that started with an old fashioned three point play at the 7:00 mark, followed by a runner, a trey from the top, a put back, and a transition bucket with 1:20 remaining off a sweet find from Kaedin Ogilvie and Cambridge closed the frame with a 33-28 cushion.
Early in the fourth Burke drilled an elbow jumper giving the Indians their biggest lead of the night at 36-28, but Tamarac wouldn’t go quietly.
Midway through the period the Bengals used an inside score by Maxon, a Jacob Barbera drive and a Miles Ednie put back to close to within 36-34 at the 3:00 mark.
Down the stretch points were hard to come by for both squads.
With :18 left Brad Rowland converted on 1 of 2 from the line giving the Indians a four point cushion at 38-34.
After a Tamarac timeout Rice buried a triple from the top with :05 remaining, and the Bengals gave the foul sending Roland back to the line with three ticks left. The senior guard hit the first, missed the second but Tamarac was unable to get a shot off and the Indians walked away with the well-earned “W”.
Just two players reached double figures in scoring on the night with the Bengals’ Rice scoring 11 points pacing Tamarac (1-2, 2-10), while Burke led all scorers with 16 points to lead Cambridge (2-1, 3-6).