|Another squeaker eludes Longhorns|
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
In the last five games, the Longhorn boys’ basketball team have found themselves in tight games. But of those five, the Longhorns have only been able to close one of the games for a win.
The snake-bitten Longhorns saw another close one get away from them Saturday in the 5th place game of the boys’ SPVA tournament.
In the final two minutes of the game against the Hershey Panthers, the Longhorns led by three.
After losing the lead, senior Matt Hayes hit a shot with 20 seconds left to give the Longhorns a 32-31 lead.
However, Hershey answered down the stretch for a 32-33 lead over the locals.
The Longhorns got the ball back with under five seconds left but couldn’t complete a long down-court pass, sealing their fate.
Coach Carl Zuege said the Longhorns committed some key turnovers late in the game that made a difference.
Zuege noted the kids have been in tight games each of the last five times on the floor. Of those, they converted just one into a win.
“We just have to hit some shots,” he said. Hershey packed in their 2-3 zone defense around posts Josh Schuman and Colin Larson.
When either of them got the ball, they were all over them, Zuege said. That opened up the outside but the Longhorns couldn’t get the shots to drop.
“We just didn’t hit anything outside,” Zuege said. Hershey was able to limit Schuman to 9 and Larson to 4. Alex Strand led the scoring with 10.
The loss was disappointing to Zuege. “We were right there for the fourth time in a row with a lead in the fourth quarter,” he said. “We have to break out of this.”
The Longhorns will be idle until Saturday when they travel to Holyoke.
Zuege said they are a good team with everyone back from a team that qualified for state last year.
“They’re probably among the top four or five teams we’ll play this year,” he added.
’Horns limit Panthers to 33
Zuege said when his defense can hold a team to 33 points, that’s usually good enough to win. “We didn’t play overwhelming defense but we did hold them to 33,” he said.
Zuege said both teams looked sluggish, having been off since the previous Monday after losing first-round games.
The Longhorns only put five points on the board in the first while Hershey accounted for only six.
At halftime, the score was knotted 15-15.
The difference came in the third quarter when Imperial hit three buckets while Hershey added two baskets and three free throws.
The Longhorns created some opportunities late as Hershey missed the front end of two one-and-one situations.
However, they couldn’t convert on the offensive end.
The Longhorns fall to 3-10 while Hershey improved to 5-9.
Action at Holyoke will begin with a boys’ C game at 3 p.m. followed by the jayvee games at 4:30 p.m., girls’ varsity, then boys’ varsity.
2 PT. 3 PT. FT/
FG FG FTA F TP
Josh Schuman 4 0 1-2 1 9
Kyle Bottom 0 0 0-0 0 0
Matt Hayes 1 1 0-0 1 5
Alex Strand 2 2 0-0 2 10
Jeff Banks 0 0 0-0 1 0
Casey Francis 0 0 0-0 0 0
Charlie Haarberg 0 0 0-0 0 0
Daniel Regier 0 0 0-0 0 0
Colin Larson 2 0 0-0 4 4
Daniel Morales 0 0 1-2 0 1
Alex Sharp 0 0 1-2 2 1
Tanner Stromberger 1 0 0-0 1 2
TOTALS 10 3 3-6 12 32
P. Young 5, J. Moore 8, T. Johnson 4, K. Kuroki 2, Z. Kortan 1, J. Blomstedt 1, J. Hiatt 12.
Hershey’s totals: 2 pt. FG—8; 3 pt. FG—4; FT/FTA—5-14; Fouls—8; TP—33.
Points by quarters:
Imperial (3-10) 5 10 6 11—32
Hershey (5-9) 6 9 7 11—33