|Broncos beat Brady to take district title|
|Written by Wauneta Breeze|
|Thursday, 10 March 2011 19:34|
Date at state with St. Mary’s slated for today
By Josh Sumner
The Wauneta Breeze
For the first time since winning the state championship during an undefeated 2006-2007 season, the Wauneta-Palisade Broncos (24-1) are headed to Lincoln.
Wau-Pal beat Brady (12-12) 60-42 last Tuesday to clinch the D2-5 district title, locking up a trip to the state tournament in the process.
“We knew we could do it,” said Bronco senior Ricky Martin. “We knew it was going to take hard work, but we never doubted ourselves.”
Wau-Pal Bronco Ricky Martin slices his way through the Brady defense and gets to the rack for 2 of his 7 points. (Wauneta Breeze Photos | Josh Sumner)
The hard work evidently paid off, as the Broncos stormed out to an early 18-4 lead against Brady in the district championship game. Fans of both teams were up to the rafters at the Wallace gymnasium, which served as the neutral court location for the playoff affair.
Despite the early push by WP, Brady never backed down during the game. A quick 6-0 Eagles run got them within 8 points at the end of the first quarter.
A 7-2 scoring streak to start the second quarter helped Wau-Pal open up their lead again, but Brady answered again. A 3-pointer from Brady’s Tyler Egenberger pulled the Eagles within 10 points.
The Broncos responded on the next possession, as Chris Bartels fed Bo Fanning on a slick give-and-go for an easy bucket. WP finished on an 8-2 run to mount a 35-22 halftime lead.
Drew Harris, at left, puts the ball on the floor and goes base line in WP’s 60-42 district-clinching win over the Brady Eagles. Harris scored a game-high 27 points in the championship.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for WP as they entered the locker room. Late in the second quarter, the Broncs’ top post player Drew Harris hit the court with an apparent knee injury. Thankfully for Bronco fans, Harris finished out the game.
“He walked it off in the hallway and returned shortly,” said Broncos Head Coach Dave Kuhlen. “He appears to be fine.”
In the second half, the complexion of the contest turned carnal. What had been a physical, relatively clean first half was anything but that after the teams came back to the court.
“It’s easy for kids to lose their emotions at times in physical games,” said Kuhlen. “Both teams seemed to come close to that late in the game.”
In an effort to keep his players from getting involved in chippy play that could possibly cause injury or even suspension, Kuhlen started his delay offense relatively early in the fourth quarter. A 15-point fourth quarter lead allowed the coach to exercise that luxury. The Broncos took the contest and the district title by 18 points.
The 2010-2011 Wauneta-Palisade boys basketball team gathers around their D2-5 district championship plaque. Pictured above are, front from left, Lorenzo Cavanaugh, Jacob Maris, Logan Bischoff, Weylin Davis, Wes Anderjaska, Landon Jutten and James Martin. At back from left, Assistant Coach Seth Alberts, Reese West, Bo Fanning, Chris Bartels, Drew Harris, Ricky Martin, Jack McGraw, Hayden Pollmann and Head Coach Dave Kuhlen.
Leading the scoring effort for WP was Harris, who scored 27 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Kuhlen praised the work of Harris, not only in the district championship against Brady, but during the entire playoff run.
“He’s really wanted the basketball,” said Kuhlen. “Our kids like to get it in to him because they’ve got a lot of confidence in him.”
Harris has been on a tear during the Broncos’ current 3-game playoff run, averaging 29 points-per-game, along with 12.3 rebounds-per-contest.
Bartels continued his domination of Brady this season, against whom he’s averaged 24 points-per-contest in three games. He saved one of his most well-balanced performances of the season for the district finale, as he racked up 18 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists in the game.
Brady’s Egenberger finished with a team-high 17 points in the loss.
Broncos draw St. Mary’s in opening round of state
Wau-Pal now sets its sights on the St. Mary’s Cardinals (22-2) of O’Neill, Neb., with tip-off between the two teams set for today (Thursday) at 9:45 a.m. MT/10:45 a.m. CT. The early game will be played at Lincoln North Star High School. See below for a full bracket which includes all pairings, times and locations for this year’s class D2 tournament.
WP’s practice plans over the previous week have involved running through situational scenarios — something the team hasn’t done much this season, said Kuhlen. Conditioning and work on fundamentals were also on lineup.
Kuhlen said short turnarounds between games have forced the team to focus on planning and game preparation most often this season. However, with a 9-day layoff between districts and state, the Broncos have been afforded the time needed to dive deeper into their prepping.