|Longhorns roll to 33-point win over Haxtun|
Rematch with St. Pat’s set for Friday night
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Longhorn Coach Carl Zuege felt uneasy going into last week’s game with the Haxtun, Colo., Bulldogs.
His team had just come off an emotional week. They defeated state-ranked Kimball in the semis of the SPVA, only to suffer a two-point loss to North Platte St. Pat’s in the finals.
Haxtun came into the game with an 8-2 record and a pair of big men at 6-5 and 6-6.
With just a three-day turnaround after the St. Pat’s game, Zuege said the conditions were prime for a letdown.
How did the Longhorns react? With their best overall game of the season, Zuege said. taking a lop-sided 62-29 win over the Bulldogs.
Zuege’s first line of defense against their big men focused on putting lots of defensive pressure on Haxtun’s guards. That made it difficult to get the ball to their post players.
Zuege said they decided to give up the lob to the posts and instead put defensive pressure on from behind.
That kept their posts off the low block, forcing them to turn and shoot rather than drive to the bucket.
The strategy worked, with 6-6 Gabriel Marner getting just 5 points and holding 6-5 Brandon Hinde scoreless.
St. Pat’s rematch Friday
Now, the Longhorns’ focus turns to avenging their only conference loss when they travel back to North Platte for a rematch with St. Pat’s Friday night.
The Longhorns were scheduled to play Wray, Colo., Tuesday night but the game was cancelled due to bad weather.
“If our kids can’t get motivated for this . . . ,” Zuege said, leaving the rest to the imagination.
The Longhorns get another shot at defeating the only conference team that has beaten them.
Plus, a win would go a long ways towards improving the team’s standing in the wildcard points.
Those points are used to determine seeding for the subdistrict tournaments as well as what two teams make the state tournament as wildcards.
As of this week, the Longhorns stand in fifth place overall, almost assuring them of the top seed in the subdistrict.
Defense stuffs Haxtun
Haxtun looked shell-shocked by the intense man-to-man pressure put on by the Longhorns in last week’s game.
Haxtun got two baskets in the first two minutes but couldn’t get another one to fall until the 2:39 point in the first quarter.
At the other end of the court. the Longhorns went on a 10-0 run to build a 14-4 lead. They held the lead at 10 going into the second quarter, 18-8, with Kelton Fisher picking up eight of those 18.
In the first four minutes of the second, Haxtun pulled within six, 18-12, despite missing 5 of 7 free throw attempts.
From there, the rout was on. Jeff Dickey got a 3-point play the hard way for a 21-12 lead.
Three consecutive treys, two by Ryan Moline and one from Travis Luhrs, blew the game wide open. Luhrs added one more bucket to give the Longhorns a 32-17 halftime lead.
The halftime break didn’t slow down the Longhorns, with Luhrs hitting a trey and a deuce followed by a trey from Dickey.
By the time the third quarter ended, the Longhorns had built a 50-21 lead, allowing Haxtun just four points.
All of Zuege’s reserves got playing time, adding another 12 points to Haxtun’s 8 for the 62-29 win.
The Longhorns shot a bruising 58 percent from the trey line against 35 percent inside the arc for a 46-point average overall.
Luhrs and Fisher led the scoring with 18 and 14 respectively. The rebounding honors were reversed with Fisher picking up 7 bounds compared to Luhrs’ 6.
Boys and girls’ jayvee action begins at St. Pats at 3:30 p.m. MT.
The Longhorns will play another Tuesday game next week they play host to Wauneta-Palisade Feb. 11. Jayvee action will begin at 4 p.m. MT.
2 PT. 3 PT. FT/
FG FG FTA F TP
Travis Luhrs 4 3 1-2 0 18
Ryan Moline 0 2 0-0 2 6
Kevin German 1 0 0-0 0 2
Dan Sullivan 0 0 1-2 1 1
Destyn Milner 0 0 2-2 0 2
Dakota Wallin 0 0 0-1 0 0
Jeff Dickey 1 2 1-1 1 9
Kelton Fisher 6 0 2-2 2 14
Justus Wallin 0 0 2-2 1 2
Trey Milner 0 0 1-2 2 1
Isaac Sorensen 0 0 1-2 3 1
Calen Griffin 0 0 0-0 0 0
Darin Knobbe 1 0 0-0 0 2
Kevin Chavira 2 0 0-0 2 4
Jared Sharp 0 0 0-0 0 0
TOTALS 15 7 11-16 14 62
Greg Chapdelaine 7, Bryce Bivens 2, Kaleb Anderson 6, Wyatt Workman 2, Lance Chapdelaine 3, Michael Taylor 4, Gabriel Marner 5.
Haxtun’s totals: 2 pt. FG—9; 3 pt. FG—3; FT/FTA—2-8; Fouls—14; TP—29.
Points by quarters:
Imperial 18 14 18 12—62
Haxtun 8 9 4 8—29