Bam! Bison last shot takes down Panthers

Monday, January 9, 2017
Steve Towery/McCook Gazette McCook High School fans celebration on the home court after Friday night's 42-41 win over Hershey. The Bison improved to 2-1 in only three home games so far this season.

McCOOK, Neb. -- Bouncing around the basketball court doesn't often include the tremors of colliding with a 300-pound Hershey Panther.

"He gave me a good swat once," McCook senior Easton Gillen said about Panther leader Jason Davis, whose 19 points showed he could make his own great moves with a 6'3" mega-frame.

The last great moves made McCook's first big dance of 2017 a happy dance Friday evening -- thanks largely to smaller Bison like Gillen.

Trailing 40-36 with less than a minute remaining, sophomore Gabe Sehnert's corner three-pointer gave McCook hope.

The Panthers broke Bison pressure and appeared going to another layup until those annoying quick Bison ruined this shot.

"They had trouble with our speed," Gillen and junior troublemaker Hunter Potthoff both agreed.

One free throw made it 41-39 while giving the Bison one more good shot to tie.

Why settle for a tie?

Instead, Gillen spotted Potthoff like so many times before just beyond the three-point line.

Bounces and rolls on rims had not been going his way -- something cold-blooded giant beaters really never think about.

"Just keep shooting," was the curly-haired assassin's response to his earlier tough luck.

"We're like brothers almost," Gillen said. "Yeah, I was looking for him."

Sure enough, Gillen delivered the ball and Potthoff found a perfect answer to lucky bounces or rolls:

Don't touch the rim.

"It felt good as soon as I let it go," he said.

His touch was true as the three-pointer swished through to put McCook ahead 42-41.

"The great thing about both those guys is they don't get too high or two low. They just stay really even," McCook coach Jeremy Yilk said.

Still nearly 10 seconds remained, meaning Hershey still had plenty of time to deal the Bison a seventh consecutive defeat.

Not happening.

Senior Kyle Geisler's help-side defense forced Hershey into an off-balance shot that fell short while time ran out.

Bison fans stormed the floor to celebrate McCook's first win since Dec. 9.

The Bison had a well-earned first win of 2017.

Scoring summaries:

McCOOK (42) -- Hunter Potthoff 15 points, Kyle Geisler 8, Easton Gillen 7, Zach Schlager 6, Josiah Hegwood 3, Gabe Sehnert 3.

HERSHEY (41) -- Jason Davis' game-high 19 points paced the 6-3 Panthers.

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