Christian Powell and his Branson teammates admittedly failed to adjust to the way the referees were calling the Pirates’ matchup with Springfield Glendale on Tuesday.
Branson had three players foul out and was whistled for 27 fouls overall resulting in 37 free-throw attempts by the Falcons.
It all added up to a 73-67 setback for the Pirates, their fifth defeat in as many tries over the past three seasons against Glendale and former Branson coach Brian McTague.
In the fourth quarter alone, the Falcons shot 17 free throws, as the officials seemingly didn’t let a single Pirate hand-check, no matter how insignificant, escape their attention.
“It’s kind of hard to correct that kind of stuff when you don’t think it was a foul,” said Powell, who along with fellow starter Colby Sutton and backup Brandt Morrow all fouled out. “But it is what it is. Coach (Kirk Hanson) has been preaching to us about keeping our hands off.
“If we get those same refs again, we’ll adjust to it next time.”
In hindsight, Powell, forward Seth Wood and Hanson felt the Pirates should have also taken note of the way the game was being called while at the offensive end.
Branson’s free-throw count was a mere 14.
“We had some bad luck with the refs tonight,” Powell said. “It was tough, but you can’t blame the game on the refs. We have to work with the refs. If they’re going to call that at one end, we’ve got to be aggressive on the other end and drive and get the same calls.”
“That’s what we’ve got to adapt to,” Wood said. “I guess we can do a better job on our part by driving more and maybe then we can get those calls.”
“It was frustrating,” Hanson added. “Part of our problem is we’ve got to do the same things other teams are doing to us, the way they go by us. If the referees are calling (a foul) if you put a hand on (a player), we’ve got to learn that.”
Despite the free-throw discrepancy, Branson played things even up with the Falcons for 31-plus minutes. Nick Dapprich nailed a 3-pointer with 37 seconds remaining to tie the score at 67-all.
“That was a big shot and we thought we had it,” Powell said. “But unfortunately we didn’t execute after that.”
Glendale went up three, 70-67, on what else, free throws, setting up one final chance for the Pirates to tie the score. Out of a timeout, Wood had the ball and a one-on-one scenario on a wing and a step beyond the 3-point line. With 12 seconds to go, he put a contested 3 that was long.
“I wanted him to use the shot-fake and if they would have gone for for it, step to one side or the other,” Hanson said. “But they went right at him.”
“I had a chance to tie the game and missed it,” Wood said. “So, it wasn’t all the officials. We have to blame it on us and not blame it on the officials.”
Wood led Branson (6-6) with 19 points, but had just two in the fourth quarter as he was saddled with four fouls. Powell scored 18 and Dapprich added 17.
Glendale was led by Monty Johal and his 35 points. The sophomore received star treatment from the refs. He was 12-of-19 from the free-throw line and 6-of-10 alone in the fourth quarter.
“That’s demoralizing,’ Hanson said. “I know what they were calling. But we weren’t impeding progress and (Johal) had his elbow out. But that’s the way it was called. We had to adjust to it.”
GLENDALE (73) — Helm 5 2-3 12, Johal 11 12-19 35, Baker 2 3-4 7, Walton 3 7-7 14, Wester 2 1-4 5. Totals 23 25-37 73.
BRANSON (67) — Powell 7 3-4 18, Wood 6 4-4 19, Sutton 3 0-1 8, Banks 0 1-2 1, Myer 2 0-1 4, Dapprich 6 2-2 17, Morrow 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 10-14 67.
Glendale 18 17 16 22 — 73
Branson 20 14 13 20 — 67
3-point goals — Dapprich 3, Wood 3, Sutton 2, Powell, Walton, Johal.