MOUNDRIDGE — It took a while, but a typical Moundridge-Inman boys basketball barnburner finally emerged Tuesday night at the home of the Wildcats.
Moundridge seemingly was in control for much of the night, but gritty Inman stormed back to tie the game at the end and even had two chances to win on the final possession.
So extra basketball was required.
In overtime, however, it was all Hunter Enyart, as his nine points propelled the Wildcats to a 47-39 success in the renewal of the best high school rivalry West of the Mississippi.
Moundridge coach Vance Unrau, whose team improved to 2-0, displayed an obvious sense of relief after the game as his Wildcats had watched an early 13-point lead melt away due to some outstanding Inman defense, including a 1-3-1 trap that gave the Wildcats some problems.
"We made our share of mistakes. We turned the ball over way too many times, even some of our veterans did," said Unrau, whose team outlasted the Teutons last year in the first round of the Class 2A State Tournament. "Hunter acted like he didn't like to be on the bench. He stepped up in overtime for us. We didn't do everything right tonight, obviously, and we still have a long way to go. But it's a step in the right direction."
The Wildcats nearly ran the Teutons out of the gym, sprinting to a 14-2 first-quarter lead and making it as many as 13 before Inman settled down to eventually draw within 18-13 by halftime.
"It took us a while to wake up tonight," said Inman coach Brett Froese, whose team dropped to 1-1. "I did not see that (the early 13-point hole) coming. It never crossed my mind we'd be down 16-3 or whatever it was. The kids fought back, you've got to give them credit for that. We could not make a shot early. We struggled to find ways to score all night long. Part of that was them, but we just couldn't put the ball in the hole tonight."
The Wildcats came out strong in the third quarter and again lengthened the advantage to double figures, 29-18, and it was still a healthy seven going into the final quarter, 31-24.
But Moundridge point guard Garrett Higgins went out of the game with 3:11 to go when he collected his fifth foul. The Wildcats went the rest of regulation without scoring, while the Teutons chipped away. An old-fashioned 3-point play by Wyatt Regier tied the game at 36-all and Moundridge turned the ball over with 38.7 seconds left, leaving the Teutons to go for the last shot.
Tyler Cottam, who before the season was thought to be out until after Christmas because of an injury but made a speedy recovery, got a good look and then the Teutons had a tip attempt which didn't go.
In the extra session, it was all Wildcats, more specifically Enyart. He scored the Wildcats' last nine points of the game, including five free throws.
Enyart led the Wildcats with 15 points, but Unrau knows his team would have been in trouble had it not been for 10 points by reserve Kyle Huxman and nine more from freshman Anthony Otte. Huxman also was a defensive presence as he stuck to Inman standout Justin Friesen, who finished with just four points.
Barkley Williams led Inman with 12 points and Cottam added 11.
• Moundridge girls 50, Inman 21 — The Wildcats' defense was outstanding, holding the Teutons to just 5 of 42 from the field over the first three quarters.
MHS also did a terrific job on Inman standout Kaitlynn Goalden, holding her without a field goal and just two points total.
"It was an emphasis, we wanted to limit her touches," said Moundridge coach Vicky Kessler, whose team is now 2-0 on the year. "She started hurrying things when she did get to touch the ball. I've got to credit MacKenzie Suderman and Michelle Schrag. Our goal was to switch off as soon as one of them got tired, (then) the other took over."
The Wildcats jumped out to a 15-2 lead behind seven first-quarter points by Brooke Holloway and pushed the margin to 25 by halftime, 32-7.
Inman held the Wildcats without a field goal for the first 7 1/2 minutes of the second half, but Moundridge finally kick-started the offense again to push the lead to as many as 30.
"The first half, we played as well as I've seen us play," Kessler said. "Disappointed in the second half. We didn't keep our focus."
Suderman and Holloway led the Wildcats with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Naomi Williams and Abby Ropp scored nine points apiece to lead the Teutons, who are now 1-1.
• Other Area Action •
• Buhler boys 66, Smoky Valley 43 — Buhler socked the Vikings with a 23-point first quarter, but Smoky battled back to get it within 37-27 by the half.
But the Crusaders doubled the Vikings 14-7 in the third quarter before finishing off the victory. Jace Williams and Shawn Davis scored 19 and 18 points, respectively, for the winners.
Cole Norberg was terrific in defeat, scoring 20 points and pulling down six rebounds. No other Viking had more than seven points.
• Buhler girls 65, Smoky Valley 45 — The Vikings struggled out of the gate, down 14-2 after eight minutes, and the third quarter also went Buhler’s way as the Crusaders had a 21-10 advantage.
Hannah McBride scored 18 points and came up with five rebounds in defeat. The Vikes’ Camille Anderson had another good game off the glass with a team-leading eight rebounds.
Smoky had a hard time containing quick point guard Jessica Steffen, as she fired in 23 points to lead the Crusaders. Alex Keller and Taryn Torgerson chipped in with 13 apiece.
• Hesston boys 63, Garden Plain 37 — Hesston jumped on Garden Plain for a 10-point first-quarter lead, 16-6, and only stretched it out from there, including a 22-point third quarter.
Balance was a key for the Swathers, who received 18 points from Grant Raleigh and 14 apiece from Wyatt McKinney and Ryan Schadler.
• Hesston girls 61, Garden Plain 37 — A 19-5 third-quarter explosion propelled the Swathers to a comfortable victory in their first action of the season.
Kelsey Unruh scored eight of her team-high 23 points in the decisive quarter. Hesston had led 32-23 at the half behind 13 points by Unruh.
She was hardly the entire story. Cami Richardson scored 10 of her 16 points in the second half, while Megan Voth scored 10 points, including three 3-pointers. Hesston made six treys in the game.
• Little River boys 57, Burrton 39 — At the Goessel Bluebird Classic, Little River evened its record at 1-1 on the strength of a 24-point second quarter which pushed its lead to 36-17.
Tevin Renken, who poured in 27 points in the Redskins’ opener, followed up with 19, but this time he had more help. Zack Konen and Chord Zeller furnished 10 points apiece.
The Redskins shot it well from 3-point, especially Renken as he made four.
• Little River girls 40, Burrton 20 — The Redskins got back to their stifling defensive ways, holding the Chargers to 10 points in each half.
Little River led 17-10 at the break.
Burrton couldn't contain Emily Baldwin, as she fired in 15 points to lead the Little River offense. Skylar Johnston added eight.