Basha started slowly but finished very strong in a 49-17 Division I, Section II win over Gilbert on Friday night. The host Bears (6-0, 4-0) trailed the Tigers 10-7 at halftime thanks to two turnovers that led directly to a Gilbert touchdown and field goal in the first half.
“Couple of different halves," Basha coach Bernie Busken said. "A lot of different stuff goes on during homecoming and we are not talented enough to not have our head where it is supposed to be. Obviously the first half we didn’t have it were it is supposed to be. We had a little bit of an attitude adjustment in the second half.”
The score remained 10-7 until about nine minutes remained in the third quarter when Kyle Duran ran for a 1-yard touchdown. Devin Reed would follow that up with a 15-yard touchdown run with five minutes left in the third quarter for a 21-10 Basha lead.
Matt Herman collected his second interception of the game and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown to bring the Tigers (3-3, 2-2) to within 21-17. That was as close as Gilbert would get as from there the combination of Duran and Keenan Garland blew the game open.
First Duran hit Garland on a 70- yard touchdown pass just a couple of plays after the Herman return. And then after the Basha defense forced Gilbert into a three-and-out, Duran hit Garland for a 36 yard touchdown and a 35-17 Bears lead.
“We came out really flat and didn’t play up to our potential, but we stepped it up in the second half and came out on top," Duran said. "We couldn’t make the connections in the first half that we usually do, but in the second half we came out with the attitude we needed and got the connections that we saw open."
For Gilbert, injuries have taken a toll and against Basha a couple of other guys went down. Jared Johnson was hurt in the third quarter and did not return. Johnson scored the first touchdown of the night for the Tigers on a 2-yard run.
“We played about as well as we could play in the first half," Gilbert coach Dan Dunn said. "We are very undermanned right now because of some injuries and some kids that are unable to play. I thought our kids played really well in the first half and then everything took its toll in the second half. We lost a couple of more kids tonight. I was real proud of our kids; we got to Duran and rattled him pretty well in the first half. It was a chess game and they had more chess pieces then we did.”
Duran finished the night 16-of-31 for 323 yards with four touchdown passes, a touchdown run and two interceptions.
“We stayed with what we did and came out and did alright in the second half," Busken said. "We had some good plays to help make up for some of the bad ones.”