By Clint Andersen
The Gordon-Rushville Mustangs finally found a team that likes to run as much as they do. The Mustangs travelled to Valentine for their regular season finale against Valentine and lost to a very athletic and versatile Badger squad 75-59.
The first half of action was played at a frantic pace as both teams looked to push the ball up the floor at every opportunity, which made for very exciting play and lots of points scored in transition. The Badger guards caused trouble for the Mustangs all night long as they always seemed to have their hands in the passing lanes to force numerous turnovers and make it very difficult for the Mustangs to use dribble penetration in the lane. Renen Sahr scored all 13 of his points in the first half including three three-pointers. Normally a very good free-throw shooting team, the Mustangs finished the first half 0 for 5 on free throw chances as the Mustangs trailed 37-31 at halftime. The second half saw the Badgers slow the pace of the game which allowed them to maximize their height advantage. The Mustangs came out of the break in typical fashion firing on all cylinders and pulled to with one at 40-41 midway through the third quarter. Valentine’s plan to slow the game down began to pay off as they stretched the lead back to six at the end of the third quarter, 50-44.
In the fourth quarter Valentine’s Matt Harris took over the game, pouring in 14 points for the Badgers. Valentine’s guards seemed to always find the 6’3” Harris under the basket for point-blank shots. At the other end of the floor, the Mustang offense was limited to mostly outside shooting resulting in three-pointers by Kalen Coats and Joe Jacobsen along with a breakaway lay-up by Daniele Marozzi. The Badgers’ dominance inside allowed them to pull away with the final score 75-59.
Daniele Marozzi had an outstanding night as he led the Mustang scorers with 15. Kalen Coats scored 14, Renen Sahr, 13, Joe Jacobsen, 10, and Marcus Fairhead added 7. The Mustangs will face Bridgeport in district action on Tuesday, February 21. The winner of the Gordon-Rushville - Bridgeport game will face the winner of the Kimball-Chadron game in a 6:00 contest on Thursday night in Alliance.