PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Second-half spark
Rebels battle back from halftime deficit to edge Lakers, 67-59
COTTONWOOD – Sometimes it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.
Guided by leading scorer Nate Everson, the Murray County Central boys basketball team overcame a seven-point deficit to begin the second half to win 67-59 over the Lakeview Lakers in Cottonwood on Monday.
Rebels coach Tim Bobeldyk believes the halftime adjustments made to their shot selection played a key role in turning the game around and coming out on top.
“Well I think in the second half we moved the ball offensively a lot better,” said Bobeldyk. “In the first half we kind of settled for one pass one shot. We didn’t really make the defense guard us that well, and that was the main goal at halftime was to come out and move the ball offensively make them really defend a lot of different actions. I thought we did a much better job of that and had some good looks.”
Early in the game, it was the Lakers who dictated the pace of play and seized momentum with Aaron Loe, Parker Hoffman and Tyler Imes stepping up big with baskets that helped bring the team back from an early 9-5 deficit to a 19-17 lead midway through the half.
Unfazed, the Rebels stood toe-to-toe with the home team and made their presence felt on the defensive end of the floor thanks to a pair of blocks by Tyler Winter. Matching their defensive intensity, William Grube picked up back-to-back steals for the Lakers and turned them into baskets to give the team a slim 24-23 lead.
In the remaining minutes of the first half, the Lakers outscored the Rebels 8-2 to take a 32-25 lead into the break.
With Bobeldyk’s adjustments put to good use in the second half, the Rebels began to find their rhythm offensively due in large part to the outside shooting of Everson and Jack Pierson, and defensively with the full court press en route to a 16-9 run and a 41-40 lead.
Lakers coach Jared Keaveny came away happy with the effort of his team, but points to the beginning of the second half as a turning point in the game.
“Take away about just a couple of minutes in the second half I thought we played a really good game,” said Keaveny. “That’s a good team that we played against. We did a great job in the first half, but I think they came out and applied some pressure to us and we kind of got alittle overwhelmed. We could never really recover, but overall I thought our effort was really good.”
After taking their first lead of the half, the Rebels refused to relinquish it in spite of a strong run by the Lakers that knotted the team’s up at 50 apiece. Following the tie, MCC picked up the pace again to outscore Lakeview 17-9 and earn the victory.
The Rebels finished the night with three players in double figures as Everson paced all scorers with 20 points, followed by Spencer Wajer with 19 and Pierson with 10. Blake Schmitz, Justin Benda and Everson all finished the night with eight rebounds to lead the team. Benda led the Rebels in assists with six.
Leading the way for the Lakers was Loe who finished 15 points, while Parker Hoffman ended the night in double figures as well with 12 points and a team-high five assists. Billy Errington led Lakeview in rebounds with eight, followed by Reid Bot with six.
Both teams will be hitting the road for their next matchups as the Lakers travel to Lac qui Parle Valley to take on the Eagles, while MCC travels to Ellsworth to take on the Panthers.
Looking ahead, Bobeldyk is hoping to see more of what he saw in the second half in terms of ball movement from his team.
“Well the guys have to understand offensively we have to make them play defense,” said Bobeldyk. “I think offensively we were able to put alot of pressure on them and get the better shot than we did in the first half.”
Seeing a great deal of progress from his team over the course of the last few weeks, Keaveny is looking for his team to improve on the little things that end up making the difference in the final score.
“We’re right there, we’re playing with some of the better teams that are really up there in our section,” said Keaveny. “We’re showing that we’re right there, we’ve just gotta make those little effort plays down the stretch and I think we can play with a lot of good teams.”