By Clint Andersen
The Gordon-Rushville basketball teams played in the Western Trails Conference tournament last week. Both teams opened up on the road with the boys travelling to Kimball and the girls at Morrill. Facing the eventual conference champions, the boys fell by a score of 29-69. The girls, however, had a great run through the tournament to claim the Runner-Up title.
The Lady Mustangs entered the tournament as the #5 seed and played #4 seeded Morrill on Thursday night. Morrill came into the game with a 10-7 record compared to the Mustangs’ 5-11 record. Playing their most complete game of the season, the Mustangs prevailed 57-48. Hali Sahr led the charge for the Mustangs with 18 points, being named Player of the Game, and Josie Perez added 14. This big road win propelled the Mustangs into the semi-finals to face the Hemingford Bobcats.
The Bobcats entered the game with a 16-2 record and held the top seed in the tournament. These two teams met in the season-opener, which Hemingford won 57-50. The Mustangs were hoping for revenge in the rematch, but the game didn’t start out like the Mustangs had hoped. They trailed by 10 points in the second quarter, but managed to cut the lead to just four points at the half as they trailed 30-26. The Bobcats extended their lead throughout the third quarter and held their biggest lead of the game, 45-34, as the fourth quarter got under way. In the final period, the Mustangs locked down the Bobcat offense and held them scoreless for nearly the entire quarter. Meanwhile, the Mustangs chipped away at the lead. Ashton Sasse dribbled the length of the floor and scored on a lay-up to tie the game at 45-45 with 1:30 left. The Mustangs took their first lead of the game, 47-45, with a Dani Campbell bucket in the lane with 55 seconds remaining. A free-throw line jumper by Josie Perez and a Hali Sahr layup salted away the victory for the Mustangs 52-49.
Josie Perez was the high scorer for the Mustangs with 15 points and Hali Sahr added 14. Dani Campbell had a double-double as she scored 10 points and added 12 rebounds in the winning effort, and was named Player of the Game.
In Saturday’s championship game, the Lady Mustangs again hoped to play the role of giant-killer as they played the #2 seeded and defending conference champion Mitchell Tigers. The game played out in a similar way to Friday’s semi-final as the Mustangs trailed by 10 in the first quarter, then cut into the lead in the second quarter. The Mustangs trailed just 26-21 at halftime, but the Tigers again built a nine point lead heading into the fourth quarter, 35-26. Though the Mustangs battled hard to the end, Mitchell pulled away for a 45-33 win. Josie Perez again scored 14 points, and Ashton Sasse scored 5 for the Mustangs.
With the impressive tournament run, the Lady Mustangs’ record is now 7-12 as they head down the homestretch of the season. Both the boys and girls will be in action at home on Friday night when they host Bridgeport, then travel to Morrill for the girls’ last game of the regular season. The boys will play their last regular season game when they travel to Valentine on the 21st.
Morrill game stats:
Hali Sahr led the Lady Mustangs scoring 18 points and was named Player of the Game by Coach Hurlburt. Sahr also had 3 assists and 2 steals in the game. Josie Perez added 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals. Kenna Campbell scored 7, including the team’s only three-pointer, and had 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal. Ashton Sasse scored 6 points, and had 6 rebounds and an assist. Denie Jacobson scored 6 with 8 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1 steal. Carlee Hinn also scored 6, adding seven rebounds and a steal. Dani Campbell had 6 rebounds and 1 steal. Paige Shultz had 1 rebound.
Hemingford game stats:
Dani Campbell was named the Player of the Game for the Mustangs, scoring 10 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Josie Perez 15 pts, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals. Hali Sahr 14 pts, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal. Kenna Campbell 6 pts, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals. Denie Jacobson 3 pts, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals. Ashton Sasse 2 pts, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 4 steals. Carlee Hinn 2 pts, 2 rebounds, 1 steal. Keelie Campbell 1 rebound.