|Broncos tune up for postseason with win at Benkelman|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 24 February 2011 19:59|
By Josh Sumner
The Wauneta Breeze
Opponents know when they play the Wauneta-Palisade boys basketball team (21-1) they can’t give the Broncos an inch.
After building a 7-4 lead midway through the first quarter, Dundy County-Stratton (14-7) appeared comfortable. Perhaps a bit too comfortable.
A flurry of steals brought on by their own defensive pressure sparked an 8-0 Wau-Pal run, giving them a lead they would never relinquish. With the press ignited and the offense clicking, the Broncos took control of the game, beating DCS 73-53 on the Tigers’ home court last Friday. It was the final regular season game of the year for each team.
Broncos Head Coach Dave Kuhlen said he was pleased with his team’s effort in their final game before entering subdistrict play this week. It was WP’s last dress rehearsal before the start of postseason play — or was it?
Chris Bartels, at center, goes in between two Dundy County-Stratton Tigers as he slashes his way to the bucket for Wau-Pal. Bartels scored a game-high 23 points in the Broncos’ final regular season game of the year. (Wauneta Breeze Photos | Josh Sumner)
“I told the team, ‘Tonight is kind of the start of the postseason’,” said Kuhlen. “If we play like this the whole postseason, I think we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
The Broncos’ relentless full-court trap was a force to be reckoned with in Benkelman, as has been the case all season. However, foul trouble, which has plagued the Broncs off and on this season, reared its ugly head.
Mere seconds into the second quarter, starter Bo Fanning picked up his third foul of the game. His substitute, Jack McGraw, complicated the matter when he picked up his third foul in the second quarter, too.
In defense of his players, Kuhlen said he loves the intensity brought by players like Fanning.
“I don’t ever want to tune Bo down,” said Kuhlen. “I’d rather see his activity and live with the consequences.”
McGraw helped spell Fanning from time-to-time in the early going, while fellow bench player Jacob Maris split time with starter Reese West. The two subs gave Kuhlen a lift, combining for 14 points in the ballgame.
“All three of our sophomores gave us good work tonight,” said Kuhlen.
Bronco basketball player Jack McGraw shoots with a soft touch on this baseline jumper.
Wau-Pal built the majority of its 20-point lead in the third quarter when the Broncos ran off a 18-6 run. WP did a good job finding its shot throughout the second half.
Ricky Martin had his outside shot working in the second half, while Chris Bartels lived up to his reputation as a slasher. Drew Harris played all over the court, working for steals and buckets in the post.
“If they’re going to leave people open, we’ve got to be able to knock down shots,” said Kuhlen. “We weren’t quite able to hit the backside guy like we needed to tonight, but as a team, we shot the ball pretty well.”
Leading the scoring effort for Wauneta-Palisade was Bartels with 23 points, along with his 4 assists and 5 steals. Harris scored 15 points, blocked 5 shots and grabbed 9 boards. Martin tallied his most recent double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Overall, Coach Kuhlen said he was confident heading into subdistricts.
“We’re going to be fine if our guys are extremely active on defense, they rebound, and they execute the offense,” said Kuhlen. “I have to figure out a lot of different ways to tell them that because I sound like a broken record every night. But they know the deal. They know what time of year this is.
“We need our senior leadership to pull everybody with them.”
Broncos to play Hayes Center in subdistrict championship
Wau-Pal takes on rival Hayes Center (11-11) tonight (Thursday) in Imperial with the D2-10 subdistrict title on the line.
The Broncos are 2-0 this season against Hayes Center. They knocked off the Cardinals in Palisade 66-56 on Dec. 18, then beat them in the second round of the RPAC Tournament 80-47 on Jan. 25.
Start time for the championship game is 6 p.m. MT/7 p.m. CT, and will be played at the Chase County High School gymnasium.
Jayvee boys win DCS Tournament
The Wauneta-Palisade junior varsity boys basketball team capped its season by winning the Dundy County-Stratton Tournament last Saturday in Benkelman.
The Broncos defeated Hitchcock County 44-32 in the tourney’s opening round. Three players scored in double-digits for WP in the contest. Logan Bischoff led with 14 points, followed by Jacob Maris with 12 and Jack McGraw with 10.
In the tournament’s championship game, the Broncs held on to slip by tourney host Dundy County-Stratton 37-35. Bischoff again led the Broncos’ attack, scoring a game-high 21 points in the contest.
Bischoff has averaged 20.7 points-per-game in junior varsity action over the last 6 games of the season, with many of those contests being decided in only two quarters.