Wildcats split pair of closely-contested games

Matthew Waldera reaches over the Immanuel defense for an offensive rebound in the first half of Saturday's game. The Lancers edged the Wildcats 70-68 in overtime.

The Wildcats traveled to Loyal last Thursday night and came away with an upset 63-30 victory over a talented Loyal squad.

“What a game!” said head coach Randy Storlie after the contest. “Our kids came to play tonight. I’m so proud of their effort and team work, what a nice win for the guys. All of our guys played such a big roll in this win tonight, their unselfish team effort was outstanding.”

The Wildcats controlled most of the game, but with an aggressive press by the Greyhounds and long-range shooting on 3-pointers, the Wildcats found themselves behind with three minutes to play.

The Wildcats came up with numerous big shots of their own to have the lead switch hands six times in the last couple of minutes.

The Wildcats came up with a huge defensive stand with 30 seconds to play leading by one point. The Wildcats then got the rebound, were fouled and connected on one of the two free throws to take a 62-60 lead.

As the Greyhounds worked the ball around, their 3-point attempt was blocked and with one second to play the Wildcats connected on 1-of-2 free throws to make the final score 63-60.

Leading the scoring attack was Tyler Kirchner with 12 points, Issac Nerby and Matt Waldera each dropped in 11 points. Logan Smith added eight, Josh Olson and Nick Shepherd each had seven while Kyle Steien chipped in with five points and Dakota Garrett added two points.

Kirchner grabbed a game-high eight rebounds while Nerby handed out six assists in the win.

Next Blair-Taylor traveled to Immanuel last Saturday afternoon to take on the front-running Lancers in the Small Dairyland Conference race. The Wildcats would end up losing the game in overtime 70-68.

“Our guys really played hard today and we had chances to win and just didn’t get it done,” said Storlie. “Our guys played so hard, but Immanuel made one more play than what we did.”

The Wildcats started the game on fire as they dominated the first half by outscoring the Lancers 38-26.

The Lancers erased that lead in the first four minutes of the second half as the offense of the Wildcats went stone cold.

The rest of the game was a back and forth contest with the lead changing hands numerous times. In the final seconds the Wildcats had a chance to take back the lead, but missed on both of their free throw attempts. They came up with a great defensive stand at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

The Wildcats scored on their first three possessions in the overtime period, but so did the Lancers.

After a Wildcat miss, the Lancers held the ball until they scored with 10 seconds to play. The Wildcats missed a 3-pointer and a tip in at the buzzer and the Wildcats would drop the contest by two points.

“Games like this will make us better as the season progresses. I’m so proud of our effort—we just have to learn and move on,” Storlie said.

Leading the balanced scoring attack for Blair-Taylor was Nerby with 16 points. Shepherd dropped in 15 points, Waldera added 13, Kirchner chipped in with 11 and also in double figures was Smith with 10 points. Rounding out the Wildcat’s scoring was Steien with three points.

The Wildcats are now 2-2 and 1-2 in the Small Dairyland Conference.

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Jackson County Chronicle editor

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