DICKSON — The clock read 2:08, and the play that occurred at that time wasn’t necessarily a turning point.
Except it was.
Dickson junior Cole King had just converted a twisting layup and drawn a foul. His free throw would tie the game.
Except an official called King for a charge, and he was disqualified.
It was another turnover, and that’s what plagued Dickson in a 58-53 season-opening loss at Dickson Gymnasium.
“I feel like we gave the game away,” Dickson coach Owen Dickson said. “We had too many unforced turnovers. The kids know that. We’ve just got to go to the drawing board and get ready for the next game, the tournament on Thursday.”
King led Dickson with 19 points, including a pair of shots that gave Dickson a second-half lead.
King is an assertive player. He nearly willed his team to victory. With five minutes remaining in the final quarter, King drove to the basket from the right wing and was whistled for a traveling violation. He came to a jump stop, but the referee decided that King’s pivot foot moved.
Owen Dickson argued the call, and was assessed a technical foul with 4:57 to play and the game tied at 42.
Coalgate hit both free throws, and the Wildcats led the rest of the way.
Dickson said both decisions were judgment calls.
But don’t blame the officials, Dickson said.
The Comets’ foul shooting doomed them, Dickson said.
His team shot 10-of-18 from the charity stripe.
Dickson went to a 2-3 zone to begin the second half, and allowed only five points in the third quarter. The one field goal Coalgate managed came in the final quarter.
Coach Dickson said after the Wildcats missed a few three-pointers in the third period, they got frustrated.
The reason the Comets played zone was foul trouble.
“Three guys had three fouls, and my point guard (senior Ashchen Bean) had two,” Dickson said. “I didn’t feel like we were getting any kind of rhythm in our man (defense). We were getting stops, but they were every two or three possessions instead of every possession or every other possession.
“And to save a little legs for the fourth quarter. … I felt like we needed to go to a zone to transition some foul trouble we were in. I thought the boys did a really good job of filling the passing lanes.
“We just couldn’t take care of the basketball. We did a better job in the second half, but it was an uphill battle.”
Junior guard Michael Nail made that hill a little easier to traverse. Off a broken play, he picked up a loose ball and buried a 27-foot triple from the right wing as the halftime horn sounded.
Suddenly, Dickson’s deficit at half was 32-28.
In the late stages, without King, Bean kept Dickson close. He hit a pair of three-pointers to draw the Comets to within 50-48, and added a floater to make it 53-50 with 1:04 to play.
But foul trouble plagued the Comets.
“It was effective,” Dickson said of King’s disqualification. “It affected our momentum, because without Cole, it takes a big part of our offense off the floor.”