Head Coach Aaron Peirick figures his New Haven Shamrocks missed a golden opportunity Saturday afternoon when they didn’t make hay in the first half against Hermann while the Bearcats’ post player was on the bench in foul trouble.

The Shamrocks, who led throughout the first half, dropped a 44-40 overtime decision to the Bearcats in the seventh-place game of the 39th annual Hermann Tournament.

New Haven was having success going inside to 6-6 senior, John Fleer, in the first half and then Hermann’s 6-4 Trent Anderson picked up two fouls and went to the bench.

New Haven led 12-9 at the quarter and 23-16 at the half.

“We had a chance to extend our lead but couldn’t do it,” said Peirick. “We didn’t throw it inside (to John) like we should have. At that point I didn’t think they had anybody who could guard John.”

New Haven scored just 15 points after intermission (six in the third quarter), and thanks to a three-pointer by junior Ethan Groner in the closing seconds of regulation, that basket pushed the game into overtime.

Fleer finished the game with 16 points to lead all scorers, and Groner added 15.

“Our kids are playing hard, I can’t fault them for their lack of effort,” Peirick said. “But we couldn’t get shots down and didn’t get stops when we needed to. I thought our rebounding was a little weak in the first half, too.”

Peirick credited Hermann’s defense, saying they packed it in around Fleer the entire game. That’s why he said it was critical when Anderson went to the bench and his team didn’t take advantage of it.

Chet Moeckli and Rhet Scheidegger, both juniors, each finished with 10 points and carried Hermann’s offense in the second half.

“Those two shot the ball well and couldn’t get them stopped,” said Peirick.

A key play was made by the Shamrocks’ Aiden Bailey with two seconds left in regulation when Hermann had the ball under its own basket and Bailey stepped in and made a steal.

Peirick said his team needs to keep working, and he believes they will get over the hump.

“We lost four games in the past couple of weeks where we were just one or two plays away from winning the game.”

Other scorers for New Haven on Saturday afternoon were Martin Lewis with five, Abe Madden three and Trent Kormeier with one. Anderson, Hermann’s leading scorer with a 15.6 average, was held to nine points.

Peirick lamented that the Shamrocks were just 2-6 at the foul line, while Hermann made six of their eight shots.

“I’ve said it before, we’re not getting to the foul line enough, and that’s hurt us,” said Peirick.

New Haven had a home nonconference game Tuesday night against Chamois, and has a Four Rivers Conference game at Union on Friday.