By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
The Chase County Longhorns matched their season high last week in the holiday tournament consolation game.
Unfortunately, their 51 points came in the final three quarters after the Longhorns failed to score in the first quarter against Kimball.
Trailing 11-0 after the first quarter, the Longhorns dug themselves a hole they couldn’t get back out of, despite scoring 19 in the second quarter.
Getting off to a slow start in games has plagued the Longhorns this season.
Coach Carl Zuege said their goal is to come out aggressive, make the first few plays and dictate the tempo of the game.
That just hasn’t been occurring, he said. “We’re not making things happen.”
He said his squad doesn’t seem to react until they get themselves down in a game and then realize they have to play themselves back in.
“We can’t stand and wait for good things to happen,” he said.
While the offense continues to struggle, Zuege said his team has made great strides defensively.
Because of that, Zuege said the Longhorns still have great potential to come on as the second half of the season begins.
Midway into December, Zuege decided his team would focus on playing man-to-man defense. Zuege likes what he’s seen so far.
Right now, it’s the defense that’s sparked the offense, he said.
He said his post players, Daniel Regier, Tanner Stromberger and Charlie Haarberg, have stepped up their defensive game inside.
Offensively, he said the team’s done a better job of taking care of the ball, noting Kyle Bottom has started to emerge in the ball-handling role.
It’s that kind of progress that makes Zuege excited about the second half of the season.
Longhorns fall to Kimball
Imperial fell to 2-6 after losing to Kimball 51-56 in the consolation game of the holiday tournament at Perkins County last week.
They lost a close game with Perkins County in the opener to fall into the consolation bracket.
Failing to score in the first quarter put the Longhorns at a distinct disadvantage, trailing 11-0 after the first eight minutes.
The offense came to life in the second quarter when the Longhorns put up 19 points, including six from Alex Strand, five from Alec Spady and four from Stromberger.
The Longhorns matched Kimball’s 14 points in the third to stay within six, 33-39.
Midway in the fourth, the Longhorns closed the margin down to the three, 42-45, but couldn’t get some key defensive stops.
Kimball reopened the lead with a trio of free throws and the margin was too much to overcome late, falling 51-56.
Strand and Stromberger led the team with 14 points each but Kimball had one player with 20 and another with 22.
2 PT. 3 PT. FT/
FG FG FTA F TP
Kyle Bottom 1 0 0-0 3 2
Jakob Burke 0 0 0-0 1 0
Shane German 0 0 0-0 0 0
Alex Strand 4 2 0-0 2 14
Steven Fish 0 0 0-0 0 0
Adam Moline 0 0 0-0 0 0
Alec Spady 1 1 0-0 3 5
Jeff Banks 1 1 0-0 1 5
Charlie Haarberg 2 0 1-2 1 5
Daniel Regier 3 0 0-0 2 6
Adam Dickey 0 0 0-0 0 0
Grant Lenners 0 0 0-0 0 0
Tanner Stromberger 6 0 2-9 3 14
TOTALS 18 4 3-11 16 51
B. Land 22, W. Parson 9, K. Ferguson 20, Z. Marosi 2, J. Greenwood 3..
Kimball’s totals: 2 pt. FG—14; 3 pt. FG—4; FT/FTA—16-22; Fouls—12, TP—56.
Points by quarters:
Imperial 0 19 14 18—51
Kimball 11 14 14 17—56
Wray here Saturday
The Longhorns get Friday night off this week and will play host to Wray on Saturday.
The boys’ schedule will be slightly different this week due to a C team tournament being played by Wray earlier in the day.
As a result, the boys’ jayvee game will be played first, beginning at 3 p.m. in the Shorthorn gym. The C team game will then follow.
The jayvee girls will play three quarters, beginning at 4 p.m. in the Longhorn gym. The girls varsity game will follow at approximately 5:15 p.m.