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The Coyote Caller

The Coyote Caller

The Coyote Caller

Coyotes drop region quarterfinal to Springfield

Season ends short of goal

Back on February 9, the boys’ basketball team dominated the Springfield Yellow Jackets 72-44. A close game in the first half turned into a rout in the second.

In Saturday night’s rematch in the Class 4A-Region 7 tournament quarterfinals, the Jackets turned the tables on the Coyotes, winning 57-56. Despite a furious comeback in the fourth quarter, the Coyotes’ season ended with a thud.

The Coyotes found themselves trailing 36-26 going into the final quarter. A full-court press defense and sloppy Springfield ball handling allowed the Coyotes to fight their way back.

Kam Bowers attempts a three-point shot against Springfield on Feb. 24, 2024.
photo by Scott Hoskins

With 10.7 seconds left in the game and the Coyotes trailing 57-54, a Jacket turnover gave the home team a chance to send the game into overtime. After Coach Matthew Hardaway called a timeout, the Coyotes set up their final play. Senior Arinze Chukumeka received the in-bound pass, but he could not find an open player. He finally drove to the basket and laid it in, but it was too late. The horn sounded, and the Coyotes’ season was over.

The Coyotes victimized themselves with poor shooting, poor defense, fouls and turnovers. For the majority of the game, the Coyotes couldn’t buy a basket from either outside the arc or inside the paint. At the same time, the Jackets drained open three-pointers. The Jackets’ senior guard Seon Dowlen singlehandedly outscored the Coyotes in the first half.

After scoring the game’s first four points, the Coyotes quickly found themselves trailing by double digits. Dowlen’s and freshman Jaylen Chapman’s hot hands paced the visitors.

Finding themselves trailing by 10 going into the final quarter, the Coyotes turned up the defensive pressure, often employing a full-court press. It was effective. Springfield turnovers and missed foul shots allowed the Coyotes to claw their way back. Unfortunately, they could not get off the final three-point shot.

The Coyotes season ends with a 13-14 overall record. The team will lose seniors Chukumeka, Amaree Lafortune, Jayoni Harding and Damond Galbreath but return a core of sophomores and juniors who saw significant minutes this season.