Chase takes Tigers down to the last seconds

Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Dundy County-Stratton senior Guillermo Diaz speeds between Chase County's Parker Dillan (24) and Cedric Maxwell (23) in a tight two-point Tiger triumph Tuesday night at Benkelman.
R.B. Headley/McCook Gazette

BENKELMAN, Neb. —The raspy voice of assistant coach Matt Thomas sent two clear messages from Dundy County-Stratton High School Tuesday evening:

1. Get well, coach Kris Freeland! He’s started recovery following surgeries on both knees during the holiday break.

“I’m not used to doing this much yelling,” Thomas admitted.

2. All this yelling was due to an entire Chase County Longhorns eam “chomping at the bit” for Tuesday’s game just like reports said about Freeland.

“He wanted to be here,” one Tiger insider revealed. “But others said no.”

The Longhorns did arrive and raised so many questions like:

“How in the name of Magic Johnson are these boys 1-8?”

The Longhorns (1-8) led early and battled 8-2 DC-S literally until their final shot.

Senior Braden Space buried that last shot — his sixth three-pointer of this game — but time ran out as DC-S celebrated a 61-59 home win.

Dundy County-Stratton didn’t take the Longhorns lightly.

“We knew they were a very talented team,” Thomas said on his post-game radio interview.

The Tigers were thrilled to see seenior Phalen Sanford unleashed two crowd-roaring slam dunks among his 26 points.

Yet they probably still don’t prevail if junior Jacob Gemborys doesn’t add 25 more with an array of smooth outside shots and inside post moves.

“I thought Jacob played his best game of the season,” Thomas confirmed.

The Tigers seemingly took charge with a 33-22 first half.

However, the Longhorns’ determined toughness paid off during a 17-12 third period.

They closed within a basket multiple times as other Longhorns like Taylor Jablonski hit late clutch shots.

Yet DC-S never surrendered the lead thanks to seniors Guillermo Diaz, Nate Auffet, Matthew Lorens, sophomore Lane Shillington and freshman Serbando Diaz.

“They maybe didn’t score a lot of points or get their names in the paper,” Thomas observed. “But I thought all our role players played real well.”

The Tigers won’t play again until hosting Hitchcock County next Tuesday. Chase visits Kimball Saturday.

CHASE (59) — Braden Space 26 points, Scott Wheeler 11, Cedric Maxwell 8, Jack Bauerle 6, Taylor Jablonski 3, Parker Dillon 3, Jony Chavira 2.

DC-S (61) —Phalen Sanford scored 26 points and Jacob Gemborys tallied 25 to lead the Tigers.

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