By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Coach Carl Zuege went into last Friday’s game against Holyoke thinking his Longhorn team could even their record to 5-5 and start a five-game run into the conference semi-finals.
Instead, the Chase County Longhorn dropped to 4-6 with a 53-61 loss to the host Dragons.
“It was a team we should have beaten and didn’t,” he said. It was only the second win for Holyoke.
Zuege found it hard to put any spin on the boys’ performance. “We did a poor job.”
Zuege took responsibility for the loss. “It’s on me,” he noted.
Despite scoring 53 points, the Longhorns struggled on the offensive end of the court.
The reason the Longhorns had the success they did came from some great offensive rebounds and put-backs. Zuege said 40 of their 53 points came off of offensive rebounds.
Outside shooting proved to be the biggest problem for the Longhorns. The team couldn’t hit anything from the outside, Zuege said.
Holyoke took advantage by dropping back into a tight 2-3 zone, just daring the Longhorns to shoot from the outside.
The Dragons also capitalized on some bad passing against the zone, making steals and converting them to points.
Zuege noted Holyoke got most of their points from their transition game after Longhorn turnovers.
This week, the Longhorns will look to start a run. They defeated Southern Valley Tuesday night and face Perkins County here tonight (Thursday) and travel to Gothenburg Friday. Both those games are winnable, Zuege said.
SPVA tournament next week
That carries the Longhorns into the first round of the SPVA conference tournament in North Platte.
The Longhorns drew the #4 seed in the six-team tournament and will face Perkins County again Monday night, beginning at 5 p.m. MT.
Sutherland, the #3 seed, will face Maxwell, the #6 seed, in the other game Monday night at 6:30 p.m. MT.
Top-seeded North Platte St. Pat’s and #2 seed Hershey each earned first-round byes.
With a win Monday, the Longhorns will face St. Pat’s next Thursday.
A complete bracket of the boys’ tournament appears elsewhere in sports.
Up eight points on Dragons
The Longhorns traded the lead with Holyoke in the first quarter, claiming a 13-11 lead after one period.
In the first three minutes of the second quarter, Tanner Stromberger and Daniel Regier led the Longhorns on a 7-2 run, building an eight-point, 21-13 lead.
However by half, the Dragons pulled even with the Longhorns, 30-30.
After falling behind four early in the third, the Longhorns grabbed the lead and held onto it into the fourth, 44-42.
For the next 5 minutes, 21 seconds, the Longhorns went scoreless but only gave up five to stay in the game.
Stromberger broke the drought with a pair of free throws to keep Chase County within one, 46-47.
With 1:08 left, the Longhorns were still within one, 51-52, on a pair of free throws by Regier.
Over the next 55 seconds, Holyoke went to the line six times, making five, to build a 57-51 lead with 23 seconds left.
Stromberger pulled the ’Horns within four, 53-57 with a jumper with :13 left.
Forced to foul, the Longhorns watched the Dragons go 4-4 from the line to capture the win.
Stromberger led all scorers with a season-high 22 points. Regier added 13.
Tonight, action here against Perkins County begins with jayvee games starting at 4:30 p.m.
Games at Gothenburg kick off with jayvee action at 3:30 MT.
2 PT. 3 PT. FT/
FG FG FTA F TP
Travis Wheeler 0 0 0-0 0 0 Kyle Bottom 3 0 0-0 2 6
Jakob Burke 0 0 0-0 4 0
Shane German 0 1 0-0 2 3
Alex Strand 2 1 1-6 3 5
Steven Fish 0 0 0-0 0 0
Adam Moline 0 0 0-0 0 0
Kale Gockley 0 0 0-0 0 0
Hunter Spady 0 0 0-0 0 0
Charlie Haarberg 2 0 0-1 2 4
Daniel Regier 6 0 1-2 3 13
Adam Dickey 0 0 0-0 0 0
Grant Lenners 0 0 0-0 0 0
Tanner Stromberger 7 0 8-8 5 22
TOTALS 20 1 10-19 21 53
Reid Baumgartner 11, Preston King 15, Julian Titze 17, Alex Quintana 6, Austin Killin 1, Brian DeBoer 8, Willie Greenman 3.
Holyoke’s totals: 2 pt. FG—11; 3 pt. FG—7; FT/FTA—18-25; Fouls—20; TP—61.
Points by quarters:
Imperial 13 17 14 9—53
Holyoke 11 19 12 19—61