MOUNDRIDGE- Before Moundridge High School and Inman High School basketball teams duke it out on Friday in the finale of the Moundridge Preseason Tournament, both basketball teams from the girls' and boys' side were in an epic battle against Lyons High School and Hillsboro High School on Thursday night. Three of the four Mac County teams were victorious, and only the Moundridge boys team suffered a heartbreaker in the end from Hillsboro.
Girls Basketball Inman 36 Lyons 25
Lyons girls basketball took the Lady Teutons to their limit and even outrebounded Inman the entire game. However, because of their strong defense to keep them in the game, the Inman girls found a way to escape with the victory over the Lady Lions.
"I felt really proud of the effort our girls gave," Inman's Head Coach Bill Maurer said. "I thought we competed incredibly hard. I thought defensively for the third straight game we were really good to hold Lyons to 25 points a pretty good effort.
Lady Teutons looked shaky in the first half as they struggled to get rebounds against a lengthy Lyons team. The Lady Teutons trailed 8-6 in the first quarter. The Lady Lyons remained strong in the paint as the game tied at 15 points apiece. It remained a low-scoring game for both teams as it tied at 21 apiece at the end of the third quarter.
"We struggled to shoot the ball offensively, but if you played good defense, you will be into the game," Mauer said. "Lyons are a rebounding team, especially offensive rebounding team," Mauer said. "We weren't, in the first half, good at boxing out at all. We got better as the game went on, and I thought the pressure of he ball defensively was good, and our press through them off a little bit late in the game, and got some turnovers out of it. We were able to get some separation in the score just because we forced some turnovers."
In the fourth quarter, things went Inman's way as they outscored the Lady Lions 15-4. Ashton Shroeder set the tone with a 3-pointer to give Inman a comfortable 29-23 lead. The Lady Lions' offense shut down by Inman's half-court press, and the Lady Teutons were able to attack the basket more and put themselves in the free throw line. Olivia Clark led the Lady Teutons with 10 points. Macy Dewitt was second with seven, and Rachel Harmon picked up six points.
Boys Basketball Inman 53 Lyons 30
It was a special moment for Payton Froese as he joined the 1,000 points club after putting up 19 points against the Lyons boys' basketball team. It didn't come easy early on when the Lions went out swinging against the Inman boys, but the Teutons rallied back and picked up a 23-point victory.
Both teams went back-and-forth with different lead changes in the first half. Mason Thiessen was in foul trouble early, so Inman's Head Coach Brett Froese had to rely on playing small ball. That's when Payton (Froese) had to take control of the offense while Thiessen was on the bench.
"Every time we lose Mason (Thiessen), we all have to come together and rebound better. That's definitely our main thing because he takes up so many rebounds for us," Payton (Froese) said. "We also had to stay discipline on defense because we all have to stay really discipline on defense because we know we don't have Inman in the lane to help us out when we get beat off the dribble If made us more disciple."
Lyons continued to make it a tight ballgame in the second half after nailing back-to-back 3s. The Teutons were still in control as they led 26-19 in the first half.
"I was disappointed in how we played defensively," Coach Froese said. "We didn't handle our pick and roll very well. They made their shots, but we went to our little matchup zone when things slowed down a little bit."
The Lions were down, but not out as they continue to hang around against Inman. Thiessen came into the third quarter full of energy after making back-to-back buckets. Inman went on a 9-4 run to give the Teutons their largest lead of the night. However, Lyons wouldn't go away quietly. Lyons went on a 7-0 run to only trail 35-30 with less than three minutes left in the third quarter. In the fourth, it was all Inman from the defensive side as they the Lions went scoreless the rest of the game. While Payton (Froese) led with 19 points, Thiessen was the second leader with 15. Jace Doerksen and Mason Carter were impactful coming off the bench as they tied for five points apiece. Thursday's win was only a warmup as they will return to Moundridge High School to take on the Wildcats on Friday night.
Girls Basketball: Moundridge 38 Hillsboro 34
The Moundridge girls basketball team didn't expect Hillsboro to come out and put them on the ropes after only scoring nine points against Inman in Tuesday's loss. It was a tight battle, but in the end, the Lady Wildcats escaped with a 43-42 victory.
Hillsboro was on the verge of an upset as the Lady Wildcats were trailing in the first half. The Lady Wildcats' shooting wasn't there, especially for Moundridge's top shooter Kourtney Kaufman, who only made one 3-point all night
The Durst sisters of Ellen and Erin came through late in the fourth quarter. Ellen, who finished the game eight points, made key-winning free throw shots that kept Moundridge in the lead. Erin made back-to-back layups with less than two minutes left to give Moundridge a two-possession game. Kaufman and Hailey Unruh led the Lady Wildcats with nine points apiece.
"I'm not sure how we did it, we just got enough stops at the right time, and fortunately they missed a few shots," Moundridge head coach Brian Holloway said. "They started off hot, and we didn't see that the other night. They came out on fire, so give them credit. They hit us right in a mouth. We staggered a bit, but bounced back. We did what we needed to do and that's taking care of business."
Boys Basketball: Hillsboro 50 Moundridge 49
The Moundridge boys were stunned by the Hillsboro as the Trojans escaped with the victory in overtime.
Hillsboro was off to a hot start in the first quarter as they went on 11-0 run before Dillon Vogts stopped the bleeding with his back-to-back 3-pointer to keep them in the game. The Trojans remained in control as led 19-11 in the first quarter, and then 30-22 at halftime. Moundridge rallied back in the second half, while Trojans went cold in their shooting.
"There's nothing that you can emulate the pressure of finishing out the game like we did. They had us down for the count three times in the first half," Wildcats' head coach Vance Unrau said. "They were ready to run us out of the gym. The kids just battled back and put themselves in a position where at least it was not a double-figure deficit at the half. They came out in the third quarter and just chipped away and put ourselves in position to win it."
The game tied up late in the fourth quarter. With 9.3 seconds left, Vogts tried to get a shot off from behind the arc, but no prevail. The game continued to go neck-and-neck with different lead changes. Moundridge had the game won went it became a two-possession game. It was then a one-point game and Moundridge had three fouls. Wildcats' head coach Vance Unrau, along with the Moundridge section, was yelling to keep fouling on Hillsboro, but after a missed 3-pointer, offensive rebound and a second-chance layup crushed the Wildcats as the Trojans escaped with the win at the buzzer. Vogts led the Wildcats with 29 points in a losing effort.
"When you teach the kids not to foul on things like that, it's kind of hard to shift gears and get a foul," Unrau said. "They really deserved this one and to lose it that way, it really hurts."
Already warned out, Moundridge has to find what's left in the tank as they conclude their home tournament against Inman at 7:30 p.m.
Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Petes_Picks_orour sports page @MacCountySports