Junior Braden Space draws the foul as he makes a move to the basket in last week’s season opener at Cozad. Before the Longhorns’ shooting went cold, they had built a 16-point lead midway in the second quarter. (Courtesy photo by Renae Bottom)
Longhorns go down in season opener
Chase County’s Longhorns shot lights out in the Cozad Haymaker’s Barn during the first 10 minutes of the season opener Thursday, Nov. 30.
Sophomore starter Taylor Jablonski hit five 3-pointers during the stretch, along with two more from junior Braden Space.
Space hit a shot before the first quarter buzzer to give the Longhorns a 25-13 lead.
Following a bucket by senior Jack Bauerle, Jablonski dropped two more treys. His second one, at the 5:40 mark, came on a bank shot, for a 33-17 lead.
That bank shot must have been an omen—a bad omen—because from there on, things went south for the Longhorns.
For as cold as the Longhorns went, the Haymakers got hot.
Cozad hit three 3-pointers in a row, separated only by a free throw from the Longhorns.
They nailed another 3-pointer at the buzzer to erase the Longhorns’ lead, 36-37, going into halftime.
Between Jablonski’s trey ball at the 5:40 mark in the second until Space finally hit a basket at the 5:28 mark in the fourth, the Longhorns scored just five points.
The Haymakers then extended their lead to 21 points and finished with a 20-point margin at the final buzzer, 49-69.
Head Coach Chris Bartels, who was coaching his first game as a varsity head coach, knew exactly what Cozad was capable of doing from the outside.
Bartels said the Longhorns weren’t ever able to get the run-stopping basket they needed to break Cozad’s stride in the second and third quarters.
“We hit a wall and couldn’t buy a bucket, he said. That’s tough when the Longhorns can’t get hoops to fall and the other team gets hot.
The Longhorns pulled down very few offensive rebounds, which allowed Cozad to get their fast-break transition game going.
Bartels said the Longhorns’ transition defense needs to slow that down going forward.
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