By Clint Andersen
The Gordon-Rushville Mustangs earned a hard-fought victory over the visiting Morrill Lions on Saturday afternoon, 48-42. Momentum swung both ways as both teams held substantial leads, but the Mustangs found a way to win.
The Mustangs started quickly, opening up a 7-2 lead early in the first quarter, but Morrill battled back and held an 11-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Lions carried the momentum into the second quarter and led 14-9 just thirty seconds in, but the Mustangs outscored Morrill 10-4 over the last 7:30 to hold a 19-18 lead at halftime.
The Mustangs used man-to-man defense to take control of the game in the second half and increased their lead to 30-25 by the end of the third quarter. The Mustang lead continued to grow in the fourth quarter as the Mustangs twice led by ten points. Give credit to the Morrill Lions, as they refused to give up, battling back to make a game of it in the fourth quarter.
Over the last five minutes, Morrill used a half-court trap to get several turnovers. The increased pressure also forced the Mustangs into four travelling calls in the fourth quarter. Nonetheless, the Mustangs continued to find the basket. Kyle Anderson scored nine points in the quarter, several of them after offensive rebounds, to pace the Mustangs. Morrill cut the lead to 45-42 with :25 left, but the Mustangs made their free throws when they needed to, and finished the game with a 48-42 victory.
Kyle Anderson led the Mustangs with 16 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Ryan Schwarting finished with 8, Lex Haller scored 6, Ryan Burdine 5, Gary Kaplan 4, Sam Boldon and Chaz Piper 3, Barry Toczek 2, and Trevor Standing Soldier 1.
The Mustangs will host Valentine on Friday night to finish the regular season before heading into district play.