EagleHerald/Josh Lacy
Cayden Bintz cuts through a pair of defenders during Coleman’s loss to Wittenberg-Birnamwood on Friday. Bintz scored 22 points in the 61-60 loss.
EagleHerald/Josh Lacy

Cayden Bintz cuts through a pair of defenders during Coleman’s loss to Wittenberg-Birnamwood on Friday. Bintz scored 22 points in the 61-60 loss.

COLEMAN — The Coleman boys basketball team (0-2) setup for a dramatic finish, but fell short against Wittenberg-Birnamwood (2-0) on Friday. The Chargers nipped the Cougars by a final score of 61-60.

The lead changed four times in the second half and the game was tied 51-51 entering the final five minutes of play, following a conventional three-point play from Coleman’s Cayden Bintz.

The Chargers pulled ahead 57-54 with a 15-footer from Kody Szews entering the final minute of regulation. The teams traded free throws until Payton Nelson came up with a steal and a put-back to pull within a point at 61-60 with 8.3 on the clock. On the ensuing in-bound play the Cougars wisely denied the ball to Brendan Resch, who had hit each of his last four free-throws giving him 24 points on the night. The ball went to Austin Gibson instead and the sophomore guard missed both free throws to leave the door open for a thrilling finish.

Solid defense by the Chargers kept the ball out of the hands of Coleman’s leading scorers, Bintz and Nelson, in the final seconds and Logan Zeitler’s shot at the buzzer did not find its mark.

The game had been tight throughout. Coleman used a quick 6-2 run to gain its largest lead of the night at 10-4 in the early stages of the contest. Wittenberg-Birnamwood responded with a 13-2 run capped by a three from Mike Gibson to go up 17-12.

The Chargers held the Cougars at bay for much of the first half, but Nelson drilled a three and a pair of free throws and Bintz followed with a triple to erase an 8-point deficit and tie the game at 29. Resch then hit the final shot of the first half to send the Chargers to the break with a 31-29 edge.

Nelson led the Cougars with 25 points, while Bintz hit four long-range shots and finished with 24.

Szews was 9-of-10 at the free throw line and finished with 25 points, while Resch added 24 for the Chargers.

Coleman is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Oconto Falls.