Longhorn boys turn 1-8 into 11-12 season mark

Plus SPVA championship

    Longhorn boys Coach Chris  Bartels knew he had the talent on his team to make a good basketball team.
    But for some reason, they just didn’t seem to gel and put up just one win in their first nine games.
    After that lone win against Yuma on Dec. 14, they lost five straight.
    They lost their final game before the Christmas break to Wauneta. They got swept in the Cabela’s Shootout. Then they suffered a 59-61 loss to Dundy County Stratton to start the new year.
    At that point, with a 1-8 record, Bartels said the season could have gone either way. He challenged his team to decide which direction they wanted to go.
    That Dundy County Stratton loss did something to his team, he said. It motivated them.
    After that loss, they came into practice that next day ready to go. They were beginning to buy in to what Bartels was offering.
    Going into the SPVA tournament in mid-January, they’d notched wins against Kimball, Southern Valley and Gothenburg against just one loss to Perkins County.
    After a decisive win against Bridgeport in the opening round of SPVA, they survived a battle with Sutherland. That put them into the finals against St. Pat’s.
    The Longhorns won a hard-fought game, 43-41, for their first SPVA championship in 15 years.
    The Longhorns won their first round of subdistricts but couldn’t get past Ogallala in the subfinal to end their season.
    Nonetheless, after that loss to Dundy County Stratton, the Longhorns went 10-4 to post a successful 11-12 record for the season.     
A look at stats
    As a team, the Longhorns averaged 54.3 points per game while giving up an average of 55 points.
    As a team, they shot 38 percent for the season, including 43 percent inside the 3-point arc and 30 percent outside the arc.
    They finished the season at 63 percent from the free throw line.
    Individually, freshman Cedric Maxwell posted the best overall shooting average, going 66 for 138 for a 48 percent average. Junior Scott Wheeler finished at 42 percent, going 95-227.
    From two-point range, Maxwell was 54-99 for 55 percent while Wheeler was an even 50 percent, 72-144.
    Junior Braden Space, who took the most attempts for the team, was 42 percent inside the arc, 69-166 and 56-191 from three-point range for 29 percent. Sophomore Taylor Jablonski attempted 87 treys, making 32 for 37 percent.
    Maxwell  led the team in free throw percentage, making 63-79 attempts for 80 percent Space finished at 70 percent, going 92-132.
    Space led the team in scoring, finishing with 398 points for a 17.3 scoring average. Wheeler added 251 points to finish with a double-figure scoring average at 10.9 points per game.
    On the boards, Jack Bauerle ruled, pulling down an average of 8.6 rebounds per game, collecting a total of 198 over the season.
    Space and Wheeler led the team in steals with 55 and 51 respectively.
    Maxwell led the team in assists with 64, followed by Jablonski with 54.
    The team only turned the ball over an average of 10.90 times per game. Starters Jablonski, Wheeler and Maxwell averaged less than two per game.
Season record (11-12)

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