The Stover boys basketball team gave Cole Camp everything it could handle Thursday.
Cole Camp did handle it, though, using contributions from the bench to beat the Bulldogs 58-50 to advance to the championship game of the Kaysinger Conference Tournament.
The Bluebirds will face top-seeded Lincoln at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center.
“They hit a lot of shots and came ready to play,” said Cole Camp coach Tom Ward. “I thought we missed a few early shots that probably would have gotten us in a rhythm.”
Cole Camp crept out to an early lead, although it struggled offensively. Stover remained close as it answered Cole Camp each time down the floor. The Bluebirds took a 9-7 advantage after the first quarter.
The second quarter saw more of the same. Stover stayed with the Bluebirds throughout the quarter as Cole Camp struggled to find a consistent post game.
Stover trailed 21-18 at the halftime break.
The Bluebirds extended their lead in the third quarter as they began finding their offensive balance. Cole Camp’s Kelsey Weymuth assisted Mac Heimsoth as the third quarter came to a close, giving it a 38-28 advantage.
Stover refused to go down without a fight and closed the gap to 43-37 off hot outside shooting. Cole Camp’s Garrett Gilbert seemed to have an answer, however, as he kept the Bluebirds with somewhat of a cushion.
Weymuth picked up his fourth foul at the 3:44 mark and Stover’s Wes Mueller hit a 3-pointer to cut the score to 49-44.
The second-seeded Bluebirds remained calm and went 4-of-6 from the free-throw line to seal the victory.
“In the fourth quarter I thought we did what we needed to do,” said Ward. “And it still wasn’t over at the end. If we get from everybody what we normally get, I think we pull away from them a little bit more. But they did a fine job with us tonight, they made us go away from what our strengths were.”
Mueller had a huge game for the Bulldogs as he paced them with 20 points. Gilbert contributed 13 for Cole Camp.