Did you really expect anything less?
It was Inman and Moundridge, just as so many times before, and as usual there was a lot on the line.
For the Teutons it was their No. 1 Class 2A state ranking and unbeaten record. For the Wildcats it was all about avenging their earlier loss this season and staying on their recent roll.
In yet another chapter of their never-ending epic on Friday in Inman, the Wildcats' massive charge down the stretch came up just short as Dillon Vogts' shot at the end of the game was off, allowing the Teutons to stay perfect with a 49-47 win.
Inman had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats started raining 3-pointers and climbed back into it.
"Another crazy game tonight between us. Man, kind of nuts really," Inman coach Brett Froese said as his team is now 10-0. "They made a lot of contested 3s down the stretch and we kind of held on. We had a double-digit lead in the late third quarter, but had some quick possessions we would like back, I think. They had a good plan against Mason (Thiessen) and we didn't really capitalize as much as we should have. That's why Vance (Moundridge coach Unrau) has about 1,000 wins to his credit. Super proud of our effort and energy again tonight, they just keep bringing it night in and night out."
Payton Froese carried the offensive load with 23 points as the Wildcats shut down Thiessen to 4 points.
"Payton was really big with 23 for us. Jace Doerksen had really nice game off the bench for us as well," Froese said. "We did a really good job on Vogts again, but he's hard to guard. Big shout-out to our community and student section for packing the house tonight. Absolutely great environment for the kids to play in. It was an awesome atomosphere."
The Teutons were honoring their 1994 state championship team and they responded with a state championship performance.
Remington Creed knocked down 5 3-pointers for the Wildcats to score 15 points. Vogts tallied 12 and Brady Helms had 10.
"We played with as much heart as a guy could ask," Unrau said. "Defensively we made them earn it and offensively we got the looks we wanted versus their 'Diamond in 1.' I keep telling kids to prepare for their moment. Meaning spend the extra time in the gym working on your game. I can't guarantee that moment will ever present itself, but I can tell you that if you don't invest you will never have that chance to take advantage of your opportunity. We had guys step up and defend and knock down shots and give us a chance at the end. I'm disappointed we didn't win, but I'm proud of these guys effort. Need to keep growing as we head into tournament week."
• Moundridge girls 38, Inman 33 — After being thumped by the Teutons in the first meeting in Moundridge, the Wildcats avenged that loss by handing No. 2-ranked Inman its first defeat of the year.
The defense was the key, especially in the third quarter when Moundridge limited Inman to just 3 points. Inman had led 20-17 at the half, but the Wildcats assumed a 26-23 lead going into the final period.
Ellen Durst led a balanced MHS attack with 8 points. Ashtyn Schroeder topped the Teutons with 13, including 3 3-pointers.
• Smoky Valley boys 49, Hoisington 43 — Down 18-16 at the half, the Vikings turned the game around with a strong third quarter (15-8) and then finished it off in style with an 18-point fourth quarter.
Balance was the key as Lane Schrag and Cade Schneider topped the scoring with 12 points apiece, while Blake Heble chipped in with 10.
• Smoky Valley girls 32, Hoisington 27 — The Vikings liked the feeling of winning for the first time on Tuesday so much that they decided to do it again on Friday.
An 18-0 run turned the game in Smoky Valley's favor.
"We improved our handling of the ball, ending with 15 turnovers, well below our season average," Viking coach Larry VanDerWege said.
Three different players scored 6 points to lead the Vikings — Ellie Brumbaugh, Lindsey Gerlach and Kaylie Ryan.
• Canton-Galva boys 40, Goessel 34 — The Eagles got off to a slow start, down 20-17 at the half, but turned to their defense to get things going.
The Eagles gave up just 2 points in the third quarter, then their offense picked up with 16 points in the fourth quarter.
Kinser Colgin led the Eagles with 13 points and Nick Pearson was next with 8. Landon Everett and Tyson Struber were strong on the boards with 9 rebounds apiece.
“We played very well defensively. Kinser Colgin and Conner Koehn did a great job on Goessel's two leading scorers,” C-G coach Shane Duncan said. “Landon Everett went 4 of 4 from the line in the final minute to seal the win. We lost to Goessel by 9 early in the season. This was a nice win for the boys.”
• Canton-Galva girls 34, Goessel 28 — The Eagles gave up just 9 points in the second half to secure the win.
“We didn't play our best game tonight offensively and the girls know that, but I was very happy with our defensive effort,” C-G coach Shelby Hoppes said. “We were able to turn them over 20 times with our press, which gave us some easy buckets when it was hard to find points. We also hit the boards, especially on the offensive end, pulling down 15 offensive rebounds. Kaysha (Unruh) led us in that category, pulling down 8 of those 15 offensive rebounds. Now we have a week off for the boys tournament which I think comes at a very good time for our girls.”
Alexa Bell scored 13 points and came up with 6 steals to lead the Eagles. Unruh stuffed the stat sheet with 7 points, 9 rebounds and 6 steals.
• Little River girls 54, Centre 40 — The Redskins outscored the Cougars by 7 points in each half for the victory.
Kaylie Zimmerman continued her steady play by scoring 19 points and also pulled down 5 rebounds. Emma McBride was 7 of 14 from the field for 15 points.
“We played pretty well tonight against a well-coached Centre team,” Little River coach Trey Look said. “We did a great job on the boards, which gave us some second-chance shots. It was a close game the whole way. Kaylie Zimmerman shot well tonight and hit some big 3s in the second have to give us a little cushion. In the fourth we did a great job off getting the ball in the middle and post against their zone, which helped give us the win.”
• Little River boys 70, Centre 58 — No game information was reported.
• Rural Vista boys 47, Elyria Christian School 25 — The Eagles finally ran out of gas.
After six wins in their last seven games, and having played almost every other night for the last week, the Eagles had no legs.
“It was a tough night to finish the fourth game in eight days,” ECS’ Zach Goodrich said. “We did not play very well tonight and I will take the blame for that. We did not execute the scout very well and I did not do a good job of preparing the boys for Rural Vista's size. I have to give Rural Vista credit, they came out and punched us in the face early and we did not recover. It’s hard to win a game scoring 8 points in one half and we had some looks, but I think by this time we did not have much legs left. I do believe we learned a lot about our team from this four-game stretch after Christmas break and I do believe we can be a great team come February. We still have some areas that need to sharping up during this tournament week, but I do look forward to getting back to a normal schedule.”
Zach Stucky led the Eagles with 7 points. Goodrich said Jackson Stone brought good energy as he added 6.
• Rural Vista girls 51, Elyria Christian 10 — The Eagles were no match for the talented Heat.
“This was a good opportunity for our girls to play against one of the best teams in the state at the 1A level,” ECS coach Greg Fields said. “I was encouraged to see some glimpses of what our defense is capable of. We created several turnovers when we were being aggressive, and that was nice to see against such a quality, disciplined team. KiLynn Starburg looked like a veteran player tonight as she hit a couple of big 3s and didn't seem intimidated at all.”
Starburg led ECS with 6 points.
• Note — Hesston had an open date.