By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Saturday’s game between the Imperial Longhorns and the Wray Eagles came right down to the wire with the Longhorns grabbing the 52-47 win.
After leading for three and a half quarters, the Longhorns saw their lead slip away with 5:15 left to play.
With just 55 seconds left in the game, Alex Sharp recaptured the lead for the Longhorns when he canned a contested three-pointer. His big trey put the Longhorns back up 49-47.
At the other end of the court, Wray got back to the free throw for the 10th time in the quarter. After already making five, Wray’s shooter bricked both tosses and the Longhorns came down with the rebound.
Wray was forced to foul and sent senior Colin Larson to the line for a one-and-one with 16 seconds left. Larson dropped the first one but missed the second, keeping Wray within a trey of tieing the game.
Wray launched a trey but missed with Sharp coming away with the ball. He was immediately fouled and dropped both sides of the one-and-one with :06 left to ice the win, 52-47.
Came up big on the road
Coach Carl Zuege said the Longhorns came away with a big win on the road. Anytime a team can go on the road and win an emotionally-charged game, it’s big, he added.
He credited the Longhorns with overcoming adversity in a game where Wray shot 30 free throws compared to only five for the Longhorns.
“There was a lot of stuff going on out there,” Zuege said.
The Longhorns have struggled with free throws this season but knocked down three key ones to help decide the game, Zuege said.
He said the seniors really stepped up and showed some leadership. “They showed a lot of fortitude.”
“They could have folded up after losing the lead. It’s easy to fall apart in that situation but they didn’t let it get to them,” Zuege said.
He credited Sharp for stepping up and shooting the trey in a key game situation.
“That’s what we’re looking for—guys who’ll step up and take that shot when they think they can make it,” Zuege added.
He said his team has been battle-tested by some tough teams thus far. To grab the win against
Wray helps build some confidence as the Longhorns get ready for next week’s conference tournament.
A team needs pressure games like Wray before heading into the conference tournament.
Larson led the Longhorns in scoring with 14, followed by Sharp with 10.
Larson and Alex Strand led the rebounding with five each while Sharp and Matt Hayes each added four assists.
The Longhorns went 4-12 (.333) from three-point range and 18-34 (.530) inside the arc. Wray was 6-18 (.333) from the three-point arc and 7-23 (.300) inside.
Two tests this week before SPVA
The Longhorns will get tested twice more before the SPVA next week.
Today (Thursday), they play host to Perkins County, which is always a good rivalry.
Then, on Friday, they head to Gothenburg to close out the weekend.
Today, the C team will kick off action with Perkins County at 3 p.m. followed by jayvee action at 4:30 p.m.
Jayvee action at Gothenburg Friday starts at 3:30 p.m. MT.
2 PT. 3 PT. FT/
FG FG FTA F TP
Josh Schuman 4 0 0-0 4 8
Kyle Bottom 0 0 0-0 1 0
Matt Hayes 1 0 0-0 2 2
Alex Strand 2 1 0-0 5 7
Jakob Burke 1 0 0-0 3 2
Alec Spady 0 0 0-0 0 0
Jeff Banks 0 1 0-0 0 3
Casey Francis 2 0 0-0 2 4
Charlie Haarberg 0 0 0-0 0 0
Daniel Regier 0 0 0-0 0 0
Colin Larson 6 0 2-3 3 14
Daniel Morales 0 0 0-0 2 0
Alex Sharp 1 2 2-2 1 10
Tanner Stromberger 1 0 0-0 0 2
TOTALS 18 4 4-5 23 52
Wray, Colo. 47
Cure 12, Jones 3, Buck 2, Vlasin 6, Reinick 1, Hwirth 6, Siegrist 17.
Wray’s totals: 2 pt. FG—7; 3 pt. FG—6; FT/FTA—15-30; Fouls—13; TP—47.
Points by quarters:
Imperial 16 13 4 19—52
Wray 11 12 9 15—47