Braden Space goes up for a lay-up on a breakaway against Gothenburg Friday. Against Southern Valley, Space finished with a career high 31 points. (Johnson Publications photo)

Senior Jace Clevenger gets a shot off close to the bucket in action against Gothenburg Friday.  (Johnson Publications photo)

Longhorn boys making some noise going into SPVA

    Three wins in eight days against just one loss. That’s what the Chase County Longhorns accomplished after winning their opening game of the SPVA tournament Tuesday night.
    The Longhorns advanced to the second round of this week’s SPVA tournament with a win at Bridgeport Tuesday night, 54-38.
    Coming in as the No. 6 seed, the Longhorns dominated the Bridgeport Bulldogs from the outset.
    By half they’d built a 30-19 lead and never let off the gas in the second half en route to the win.
    Going into the game, Head Coach Chris Bartels said Tuesday they believed Bridgeport was beatable, despite having to travel to Bridgeport to meet the No. 3 seed.
    Bartels felt good about how his team was playing going into this week’s conference tournament.
    They were coming off bookend wins against Southern Valley Jan. 9 at McCook Community College 61-54  and a dominating 52-29 win over Gothenburg at home Friday night.
    The only blemish of the week came at Grant Thursday, when they fell to Perkins County 54-62.
    Bartels felt the Longhorns let that one slip away from them.
    He gave Perkins County’s Plainsmen credit for taking care of business in the final minutes of the game.
    After the Longhorns pulled within four, 49-53, inside two and a half minutes left to play,  the Plainsmen made their free throws down the stretch.
    In the final two minutes, Perkins County went 7-8 at the line  while the Longhorns went 1-4 in the final minute.
Southern Valley
    But against Southern Valley, free throws made the difference.     
    The Longhorns put 20 points on the board in the first quarter, with seven different players getting in the book for a 20-14 lead.
    By halftime, Southern Valley narrowed the Longhorns’ advantage to four, 32-28.
    Midway in the third, junior Braden Space hit a deuce, a three-point play the old fashioned fashion and a trey ball to give the Longhorns an 11-point,  44-33 lead.  
    But by quarter’s end, that 11-point lead dropped to a seven-point, 46-39 lead.
    With 2:55 left, Southern Valley hit a 3-pointer to cut the Longhorns’  lead to five, 56-51.
    Space answered with another 3-pointer and the Longhorns prevailed at the line.
    In the fourth quarter, they hit 11 of 14 free throws to keep Southern Valley at bay.
    Space was 11-13 at the line in the game, 4-9 outside the arc and 4-7 inside the arc, finishing with a game-high 31 points. Scott Wheeler finished in double figures with 10.
    The Longhorns shot 48 percent from the field compared to  Southern Valley’s 41 percent.
    Jack Bauerle led the rebounding with nine, Wheeler added six assists and Cedric Maxwell collected three steals.

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