By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Longhorn boys’ coach Carl Zuege felt his squad let another win get away from them Monday night in the opening round of the Perkins County holiday tournament.
The Longhorns returned from the Christmas break to face Perkins County in the first round.
Despite falling behind 17-4 after the first quarter, the Longhorns rallied back and closed the margin to as few as four in the second half.
However, turnovers and some scoreless possessions at key times late in the third quarter and again in the fourth quarter sealed the Longhorns’ fate, 37-46.
One of the things Zuege wanted was for his team to come out aggressive and challenge the inside and Perkins County’s 6-10 senior post, Kye Kurkowski. But that didn’t happen during the first eight minutes.
Zuege added his team didn’t do a good enough job of taking care of the ball against Perkins County’s pressure.
To top it off, the Longhorns suffered from the Husker syndrome—can’t get the offense going.
Zuege said every one of the guys has to be looking to create their own offense.
Perkins County didn’t have any trouble creating their own offense in the first quarter.
The Longhorns opened in a zone defense to force Perkins County to shoot from the outside. Zuege said Perkins County had been having trouble shooting from the outside so a zone seemed logical.
What Zuege hadn’t figured on was Perkins County shooting lights out in the first quarter. At the other end, the Longhorns could only put up four points to trail, 17-4.
Once the Longhorns switched into a man-to-man defense, their offense began to show up as well.
In the second, they outscored Perkins County 12-10 to narrow the halftime deficit to 11, 16-27.
With 2:48 left in the third, Charlie Haarberg dropped in a pair of free throws to pull the Longhorns within four, 30-34, capping a 14-7 run.
Over the next two minutes, the Longhorns couldn’t get any points on the board and trailed at the quarter 30-37.
The Longhorn’s third quarter run was helped when Kurkowski was sitting on the bench with three fouls.
Neither team could mount any rally during the first four minutes of the fourth quarter with the Longhorns scoring three and Perkins County just one, making the score 33-38.
The Longhorns went almost three more minutes before getting back on the board but still only trailed by five, 35-40, after a basket by Kyle Bottom with 1:32 left.
Over the next 40 seconds, the two teams traded buckets. Stromberger hit one from the middle of the lane to take the game back to five, 37-42, with :55 left.
Unfortunately, that proved to be the final score for the Longhorns, falling 37-46.
Offensively, Stromberger finished as the only Longhorn in double figures with 13.
The boys faced Kimball in the third place game Tuesday.
2 PT. 3 PT. FT/
FG FG FTA F TP
Kyle Bottom 2 0 1-2 4 5
Jakob Burke 0 0 0-0 1 0
Shane German 0 0 0-0 0 0
Alex Strand 1 0 1-2 4 3
Steven Fish 0 0 0-0 0 0
Adam Moline 0 0 0-0 0 0
Alec Spady 0 0 0-0 1 0
Jeff Banks 1 1 2-2 1 7
Charlie Haarberg 1 0 0-0 0 2
Daniel Regier 2 0 3-4 0 7
Adam Dickey 0 0 0-0 0 0
Grant Lenners 0 0 0-0 0 0
Tanner Stromberger 5 1 0-1 3 13
TOTALS 12 2 7-11 14 37
Perkins County 46
Sexson 3, Lampmann 2, J. Hagan 2, Turner 8, Jones 8, York 5, Kurkowski 18.
Perkins County’s totals: 2 pt. FG—16; 3 pt. FG—2; FT/FTA—8-15; Fouls—13, TP—46.
Points by quarters:
Imperial 4 12 14 7—37
Perkins County 17 10 10 9—46