By Clint Andersen
The Gordon-Rushville Mustangs had a rough go of it at the Alliance Holiday Tournament last Thursday and Friday. The Mustangs opened the tournament against the Mitchell Tigers who came into the tournament with a 3-4 record and looked on paper to be a closely matched opponent.
The Mustangs opened the game with a three-pointer, but Mitchell methodically built and expanded a lead throughout the game. Mitchell led 10-7 at the end of the first and had stretched the lead to 18-12 at the half. The Tiger lead grew again by the end of the third to 37-24 and the final score ended at 53-33 in favor of Mitchell.
On Friday, the Mustangs faced the Bridgeport Bulldogs who had been upset the day before by Alliance in an overtime thriller. With the Bulldogs coming off of their first loss of the season, the Mustangs hoped to pounce early and surprise Bridgeport. The Mustangs scored early and often in the first quarter and used the long ball effectively in the first half as Chaz Piper and Ryan Schwarting each connected with several three-point shots. Each time Bridgeport built a small lead, the Mustangs would hit a three-pointer to narrow the game and keep the game close. This was the strongest first quarter of the season for the Mustangs, but they trailed 23-16 as they started the second quarter.
Bridgeport is a strong, complete team and they finally got over the hangover from their opening round loss and played well through the rest of the game. The Bulldogs took control in the second quarter and opened up a 41-22 halftime lead. Bridgeport used a stifling defense and strong offense in the second half as they held the Mustangs to just nine second half points on their way to a convincing 73-31 victory. If you missed the tournament, watch our full broadcasts at http://www.sheridancountyjournalstar.net/videos
The Mustangs’ record now stands at 2-6 as they prepare for a Saturday tilt with the 2-6 Bayard Tigers on the road. This will be a tune-up for the Battle of Sheridan County as the Mustangs will host the Hay Springs Hawks on January 17.