BICKLETON - The Bickleton boys basketball team worked overtime for a second straight game and again came up short in a 53-48 home loss to Jubilee Christian Tuesday evening.
The difference, according to Coach Ben McBride, came down to free throw shooting.
"It seemed like there was a lid on the basket," he said of the Pirates' 31 percent (9-of-29) shooting at the charity stripe. McBride added that Jubilee picked up on his team's free throw woes, fouling the Pirates when they got close to the basket.
A tight game throughout, Bickleton overcame a 13-10 first quarter deficit by holding Jubilee to just four points in the second stanza on the way to a 19-17 halftime lead.
"They are tremendous athletes," McBride said of Jubilee, a private school near Prescott. "That was one of the better teams we've faced."
Bickleton's key to staying in the game and slowing down Jubilee's attack was rebounding, McBride said.
"We were not only blocking out, but getting after the ball," the coach said of the hustling Pirates. "We made Jubilee shoot over the top and didn't give them second chances, that's what kept it close."
The contest remained a one possession game as Jubilee claimed a two-point edge at 30-28 heading into the final quarter.
Trailing 40-38, Bickleton tied the contest in the final minute to send the game into overtime.
Jubilee scored a couple of quick buckets and the Pirates struggled at the free throw line as the guests held on in the overtime period.
"It was almost a copy cat of the game before (an overtime loss at Lyle)," noted McBride. "We had chances to win but just couldn't make the shots under pressure."
Ryan Bravo cleaned the glass for nine rebounds to lead Bickleton in the paint.
Cody Loomis and Tyler Jensen had 17 and 16 points, respectively, to spark the Pirate attack. Jensen also grabbed six boards.
"I'm happy with the effort the team is putting out," said McBride. "We'll just need to learn to focus and hold our composure, those free throws mean a world of difference."
Bickleton (1-2) will have another chance to tune up its game this weekend at a non-league tourney in Arlington, Ore.