|Bronco boys push Cambridge into double OT|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Wednesday, 17 December 2008 20:56|
By Tina Kitt
The Wauneta Breeze
Outsized, outbenched and down to two varsity starters by the end of the game, the Wauneta-Palisade boys basketball team gave it their all Friday as they battled the Cambridge Trojans in the Broncs’ home opener.
Pushing the game into double overtime, the Broncs were edged by three points, 63-60, by Class C2 Cambridge, now 2-2 on the season.
Coach Dave Kuhlen noted that last week’s game provided some valuable lessons for his young squad.
“You want to play tough games early in the season to find out what your weaknesses are. You really have to admire the efforts that these kids keep coming up with every game,” said Kuhlen. “This game will turn out to be very beneficial for us in the long run.”
The Broncs took an early 12-6 lead and remained in front for most of the contest, with Cambridge managing to knot the score at 14-all in the first quarter and 25-25 late in the second.
Drew Harris hit a trey shortly before the half to put the Broncs up 29-27 going into the break.
The Broncs were forced to go with the outside shot with Cambridge dominating the middle. The more experienced Trojan team sported a roster of seven seniors, four of whom measured 6-foot or taller. Cambridge dominated the boards as well, outrebounding the Broncs’ 51-32.
In the second half the Broncs found a way to penetrate the middle, spreading their lead to 40-32 with drives by TJ Ellicott and Chris Bartels and a trey by Ricky Martin.
Carrying a 44-38 advantage into the final period of regulation play, the Broncs also found themselves leading in fouls. Cambridge pulled within one point early in the fourth quarter before the Broncs broke loose on an 8-0 run.
Halfway through the quarter the Broncs notched their seventh team foul. Cody Steinke, the first of three Bronco starters to foul out, was sent to the bench with 3:58 left in regulation, followed by Harris later in the quarter and Martin a few seconds into overtime play.
Cambridge capitalized on the Broncs’ predicament by connecting on free throws to pull within two points at 54-52 as the Broncs struggled with 44 percent free throw shooting.
With just over 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Cambridge huddled up to strategize one final shot. Moving the ball around the Trojans worked their way inside with 1.2 seconds left to tie the game up at 54-54.
In a low-scoring four minutes of overtime play, Ellicott connected on a pair from the foul line and Cambridge connected from inside to lock the score at 56-56, sending the game into double OT.
John Kitt drained two free throws to put the Broncs up 58-56, with Cambridge notching a foul shot of their own to pull within one point with a minute and a half left on the clock as a fourth Bronco player, Bo Fanning, hit his fifth foul, with the 10-player Bronco bench wearing thin.
In the final minute of play Cambridge hit a deuce and three foul shots to take a 62-58 lead.
With less than 20 seconds remaining, Bartels cut loose on a coast to coast drive to pull WP within two points.
The Broncs managed to get off a couple more shots before the clock wound down, but couldn’t connect in the chaotic scramble.
Trailing by three in the waning seconds, Bartels got off a buzzer shot from midcourt, but missed his mark as Cambridge took the win, 63-60.
While disappointed with the final outcome, Kuhlen said he was pleased with his team’s overall effort, adding that the overtime game would provide his players with an opportunity to learn and grow.
“We learned that we need to shoot free throws better and we need to get everybody involved rebounding,” said Kuhlen. “We also need to learn to make better decisions with the game on the line.”
Harris notched a double-double on the night as the Bronco sophomore led his team in scoring with 25 points and in rebounding with 14. He led in steals with six.
Bartels and Martin also posted double-digit scoring, with Bartels knocking down 11 points and Martin 10. Ellicott led in assists with three and added eight points.
The Bronco jayvee boys fell to 1-1 Saturday after falling to Cambridge 33-12 in two quarters of play.
In the opening quarter the Broncs trailed by as many as 15 points as the Trojans held the hometown team scoreless for the first six minutes of play.
Bo Fanning and Brendan Geier knocked down buckets late in the quarter to bring the score to 18-4 going into the last period of play.
The Broncs held Cambridge to 11 points in the final quarter while pouring in eight points of their own for a 29-12 loss.
Fanning led the squad with four points, followed by Geier and John Kitt with three points each and Reese West with two.
The Bronco boys will carry a 1-1 record with them as they travel to Big Springs Friday to take on a 1-3 South Platte squad. There will be no jayvee girls game, so jayvee boys play will get underway at 4 p.m. MT/5 p.m. CT followed by varsity action.
Saturday night the Broncs will host a tough Hayes Center club, with the Cardinals at 4-1 this week after falling to Arapahoe in a close battle this past weekend at the Cattle Trail Tournament in McCook.
Girls jayvee starts action at 4 p.m. MT/5 p.m. CT followed by two quarters of jayvee boys action, then varsity girls and boys play.
There won’t be any basketball action next week, with the NSAA winter break moratorium in effect Dec. 24-28. On Dec. 29 and 30, however, the Broncs travel to Brady for holiday tournament play.