Wildcat boys take down Raiders

Center-Stanton Wildcats No. 22 Jarret Henke drives past opposing Richardton-Taylor Raiders players during a Saturday, Jan. 8 game. The Wildcats came out victorious with a score of 52-47.

By Wren Murphy

It was the end of the third quarter, and the Center-Stanton Wildcats were tied with the Richard- ton-Taylor Raiders. After

a neck-and-neck game, the fourth quarter was do-or- die.

It was in these final eight minutes that the Wildcats clawed ahead, giving the boys’ varsity basketball team a narrow 52-47 win at their Saturday, Jan. 8 game. This victory at the McLean County Shootout in Washburn capped off their long week, which saw a landslide 34-76 loss against the South Prairie Royals and a 79-70 win against the Solen Sioux.

In their game against the Raiders, Center-Stan- ton came running out of the gate. Wildcats Derin Sailer and Jarret Henke sank two-pointers, and Hunter Hoffman got in a trey, giving Center-Stanton the early lead.

After the Raiders scored on two free throws and
a layup, Wildcat Jayden Hall and Raider Caisen Dohrmann alternated points. But, cracks were showing in the Wildcats’ defense, and they rarely scored on rebounds. After Wildcat Hunter Hoffman’s

two successful free throws pushed the Wildcats to 13 total points, Dohrmann struck again and scored the last points of the quarter. By the end of the first quarter, the Wildcats were ahead with a score of 13-12.

Hall started the sec- ond quarter with a quick basket and followed it up by scoring on a rebound. Raiders MacKale Hoselton and Dohrmann helped the Raiders briefly pull ahead. But, Wildcat Jarret Henke scored in the last minute of the first half, bringing them to an even 20-20.
In the third quarter,
the Raiders and Wildcats changed roles, with the Wildcats falling behind and fighting to catch up,

Center-Stanton Wildcats No. 24 Hunter Hoffman launches himself and the ball toward the hoop during a Saturday, Jan. 8 game against the Richardton-Taylor Raiders. As of Tuesday, Jan. 11 the team’s record for this season is 3-5.

struggling to find a steadi- er pace on their offense and keep up with the Raid- ers’ attacks.

Midway through the third, the Wildcats had fallen behind by six points, but Jordan Peterson, Mike Thompson and Derin Sail- er brought them back to an even 31-31. Then, Sailer scored a three-pointer and two-pointer in rapid suc- cession, with the Wildcats not giving the Raiders a second to breathe. This gave the Wildcats a narrow lead, but the Raiders pried that away by the end of the quarter. The first half ended at 36-36.

The fourth quarter came, and with the teams tied, it was anyone’s game. Head Coach Andrew Mondry said this motivated the team step up on both offense and defense.

“When we came in at the end of the third quarter, I said, ‘It’s a zero-zero ball game, and whoever wants it more this quarter is going to win the game.’ I said, ‘We’ve just got to step up on defense and be aggressive on offense,’ and that’s what happened.”

The Wildcats struck hard at the beginning of the fourth, with Henke getting a run of points followed by a Sailer basket, which forced the Raiders to call a timeout. In the last minutes of the game, Sailer sank several shots, and Hall and Sailer scored on two

free throws.
Head Coach Andrew

Mondry said that the team got into the groove during the fourth, which ensured a Wildcat victory.

“Defensively, I felt like we just didn’t have that energy right away until about the fourth quarter, and we started getting stops and getting some rebounds,” he said. “It just seemed like we didn’t have a flow for our offense un- til late in the fourth quarter, and we just decided we were going to be aggressive.”

He continued, “We had
a couple guys make some game-winning plays and that was the difference in the ball game. … There were a cou- ple ones where Derin made some shots for us, which was big. Ken Albers drove in there one time. He’s a little guy with a big heart, and he drove in there and he found an open guy and we had that

player pass to another open player for a layup. That’s the way we’ve got to play. We have to play with five guys willing to share the basket- ball and be unselfish and hit the open guy.”

Mondry wants the team to focus on a strong, slow and steady offense. If they want to be successful, they can’t be frantic on offense, he said.

The game against Solen saw a similar story, Mondry said. The Wildcats had no trouble scoring, but their de- fense couldn’t handle their opponents. They came out successful because, like in the Raiders game, they had big plays that “sealed the deal” for them in the fourth quarter.

“It feels good winning two in a row,” he said. “But, at the same time, I feel like we have a lot of work to do and we could be a lot better.”

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