By KEVIN THOMPSON
LAKIN — Lakin coach Steve Davidson has a lot to smile about.
His Broncs are peaking at the right time, opening sub-state play with their eighth-straight win in defeating Cimarron 52-32 in a quickly-played game.
Bryant Miller scored his 1,000th career point in the second quarter on his way to a game-high 18 to lead the Broncs.
This is Lakin's 11th win in its last 13. The Broncs are a team that is playing with confidence when it counts, Davidson said, and it showed early.
The Broncs jumped out to a 30-14 lead at halftime, including an 8-2 run by junior Dalton Shalberg alone from short range to end the half.
Miller hit a trio of threes that half (the second one for his milestone points) to open up Lakin's outside game.
The Broncs were 12-of-25 from the floor, contrasting with the Bluejays' 6-of-26 in that half.
Cimarron, though, took it to Lakin to start the third period. Caleb Fischer and Todd Boersma scored 10 of the Jays' 12 points that quarter, cutting the Lakin lead to just 10 with 1:04 to play.
Then Jordan Rosales hit a two with 27 seconds remaining and a three at the buzzer for the Broncs to end the quarter and another field goal to start the fourth to widen the gap to 15, and it was simply too much for the Jays to overcome.
Davidson said a spread-out defense threw his team off their game in the third period, causing five turnovers and leading to the Cimarron comeback before his team was able to adjust. It forced the Broncs away from the reliable inside game but they were able to overcome that issue.
For the game, Lakin shot just over 50 percent from the floor (18-of-35) while the Jays were just 14-of-52 (27 percent) and 0-for-7 from the line.
That was a volatile combination that hurt Cimarron, coach David Losey said.
'The focus wasn't there," he said. "Maybe that was partly me. We just weren't prepared or ready to play."
The comeback in the third was more like the Bluejay team that got second in the league tournament last month and has battled to 11 wins. The jump trap worked, but Lakin just adjusted well, Losey said.
"We just struggled with shots. That was one of the things we stressed. The first time we played them (a 10-point loss in January), we missed four point-blank shots," he said. "You've got to hit them if you want to win."
Boersma and Randy Allen, averaging 26 points a game between them, scored just nine points each. Cimarron scored in double-figures in just the third quarter, with 12. The Jays scored just seven pionts in the first and second periods, and six in the fourth.
The shooting was a highlight for the Broncs, Davidson said. They haven't shot over 50 percent all season, and tonight they converted a lot of easy looks.
Rebounding, too, hurt the Jays. Averaging 31 boards a game, they managed just 18 rebounds against Lakin.
With only two seniors on this Cimarron team, Losey is looking at the success of this year to carry over to the next.
"You've got to hand it to the kids. They won some close games and learned how to win," he said. "Now they just need to learn how to beat some of these top teams."
Since starting the season 1-8, the Broncs (12-10) have been playing like a team on a mission. Davidson credited the guys on his team for not giving up on the season, despite the rough start to things.
"The kids have a lot of heart," Davidson said. "They play hard, with confidence. It's been working."
Next up is Scott City, the top-ranked team in the state at 19-1 in Scott City. But Davidson likes his team's attitude as they get ready for that Thursday showdown with the defending state champion in Class 3A.
"I told the kids after the game that no matter what, we're going to play hard. What happens, happens," he said. "We're going to go up there and compete for 32 minutes."
Cimarron (11-11) 7 7 12 6 -- 32
Lakin (12-10) 14 16 11 11 -- 52
Cimarron (32) — Franzitta 0 0-2 0, C. Fischer 3 0-0 7, Clark 1 0-0 2, T. Fischer 1 0-0 2, Boersma 4 0-2 9, Allen 4 0-3 9, Fairbank 1 0-0 3. Totals 14 0-7 32.
Lakin (52) — Shalberg 4 0-0 8, Miller 5 5-7 18, Davidson 1 2-4 5, Sauer 0 1-2 1, Kinnier 4 1-2 9, Rosales 3 0-0 7, Armstrong 2 0-1 4. Totals 19 9-16 52.
3-point goals — Cimarron 4 (C. Fischer, Boersma, Allen, Fairbank), Lakin 5 (Miller 3, Davidson 1, Rosales 1). Rebounds — Cimarron 18, Lakin 24. Turnovers — Cimarron 15, Lakin 14. Fouled out — none. Personal fouls — Cimarron 14, Lakin 9.