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Despite having only five days of practice as a complete team, the Orrick Bearcats hit the basketball court for the first time this season Tuesday night in the first round of the I-70 Conference Tournament at Sweet Springs.
Bearcat Coach Morgan Dickson was pleased with his team’s opening performance in a 65-59 loss to Windsor.
“We played a tough ballgame against a good Windsor team and came up short,” he said. “Our lack of depth, foul trouble, lack of basketball conditioning and illness really took its toll.”
The Greyhounds grabbed a 24-15 lead after the first period and built a 17-point lead in the first half, but Orrick battled back to cut the halftime deficit to 31-27.
Windsor regained control early in the third quarter and built a 13-point lead, but once again the Bearcats cut the gap to a field goal by the end of the frame, 49-47.
The Greyhounds held off the Bearcats in the final 8 minutes by hitting free throws down the stretch and were 10 of 18 at the line in the fourth quarter.
Windsor was led by the one-two scoring punch of Corey Buford with a game-high 23, and Tony Balbirnie who chipped in 20. Buford scored 7 of his nightly total in the final quarter with a field goal and hitting 6 of his 8 attempts from the line. Windsor converted 18 of 37 free throws for the game.
Clayton Jones led Orrick with 17 points, with 10 of those coming after the break. Preston Karnes and Cameron McGlothlin each added 9 points for the Bearcats, and Joe Kaufman hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter on the way to an 8-point night.
Karnes was steady at the free throw line as he connected on all but one of his 6 attempts from the stripe.
Kalija Rogers also added two buckets from outside the arc in the third period for his 6 points.
Also scoring for the Bearcats were Eric Rodenberg and Ty Griffin with 4 apiece and Anthony Sevart with 2.
Orrick will take on Wellington-Napoleon Thursday at 4:30 p.m.