By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Carl Zuege’s Longhorn boys notched a crucial win last week, dominating Yuma, Colo.
Not only was it the team’s first win of the young season but it came just before the Christmas break.
“It was nice to get one before break,” Zuege said. “Now we head into the break on a positive note.”
Zuege was most excited about how the team executed their 1-3-1 zone defense.
To this point, Zuege said the zone has been ineffective when they’ve run it.
“We have to be able to mix up defenses or we become too one dimensional,” the coach said. The Longhorns came out in the third quarter with the zone and all but shut Yuma down with it.
The defense spurred the offense as well with the Longhorns going on a 16-4 run in the third to all but put the game away.
That success will give his boys a lot of confidence going forward, Zuege noted.
The boys practiced Monday and Tuesday of this week before the mandatory five-day dead period began Wednesday.
When the dead period ends Monday, the Longhorns will return to action that day.
They will head to Sidney for the Cabela’s Holiday Shootout tournament.
Zuege said they’ll do a brief walk-through Monday morning before leaving for Sidney.
The Longhorns set the pace early with Ike Maxwell draining a 3-pointer to kick off a 9-0 run during the first four minutes of the game.
Thanks to some Longhorn turnovers, Yuma went on a seven-point run off their own. That pulled them back to within two, 9-7, with 2:30 left in the quarter.
From there, the Longhorns gave up just one more bucket while posting another six-point run to lead 15-9 after one period.
Yuma refused to go away though, matching the Longhorns almost bucket for bucket in the second quarter.
The Longhorns were still able to stretch their six-point lead into eight going into halftime.
The Longhorns virtually shut down Yuma in the third with their 1-3-1 zone.
After recovering from some early turnovers in the quarter, the Longhorns started their run with Maxwell’s third trey of the game.
They ran off nine unanswered points before Yuma got on the board with a pair of free throws.
As the quarter was coming to an end, Dakota Wallin intercepted a pass, turned and shot, banking in an NBA-length trey at the buzzer. That gave the Longhorns a 20-point, 47-27 lead.
Zuege was able to give some of his other players playing time in the fourth as the Longhorns went on to a 58-35 win.
Statistically, the Longhorns finished with three players in double figures, led by Maxwell with 15, Wallin with 14, and Jared Sharp with 10.
Eli Engbrecht led the rebounding with seven followed by Destyn Milner with five.
As a team, the Longhorns shot a whopping 65 percent from the field. That included a 4-8 effort from the 3-point line.
Chase Co. 58
2 PT. 3 PT. FT/
FG FG FTA F TP
Nolan Spady 0 0 0-0 0 0
Ike Maxwell 3 3 0-0 2 15
Kass Cochran 0 0 0-0 0 0
Destyn Milner 1 0 0-2 3 2
Dakota Wallin 5 1 1-1 4 14
Cody Williams 1 0 0-0 3 2
Jack Bauerle 3 0 1-2 0 7
Eli Engbrecht 1 0 2-2 1 4
Michael Musgrove 2 0 0-2 0 4
Jared Sharp 4 0 2-2 2 10
TOTALS 20 4 6-11 15 58
C. Hixon 5, T. Haruf 5, B. Mendez 3, R. Hofmeister 10, D. Covarrubias 11, J. Chrisman 1.
Yuma’s totals: 2 pt. FG—10; 3 pt. FG—2; FT/FTA—9-14; Fouls—14; TP—35.
Points by quarters:
Chase Co. 15 16 16 11—58
Yuma 9 14 4 8—35
The Longhorns will be back in action Monday at the Cabela’s shootout when they face Wheatland, Wyo., in the opener of the three-day tournament.
Game time is set for 3:45 p.m. in the Sidney middle school gym.