Meade Buffaloes

Meade Buffaloes

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Syracuse clinches spot in HPL title game

Published 1/22/2011

By KEVIN THOMPSON

sports@gctelegram.com

They say that the third time's a charm.

How "they" interpret that adage is a matter of perspective.

Friday night, Syracuse beat Stanton County 47-40 in the semifinals of the Hi-Plains League tournament, the Bulldogs' third win this season over the Trojans, this time at the Perryman Athletic Complex.

"This was a little different," Syracuse coach Jeff Mathias said. "They played a lot of 2-3 zone, which we haven't seen a ton of, and we had to make quite a few adjustments for. But it was good for us."

For Stanton County coach Marc Stephenson, the third time against the Bulldogs was supposed to be for the win. To get there, he threw in a different look on defense that seemed to rattle the Bulldogs for a while. But just like some good plans, this one went awry in the second period when Syracuse turned a 9-8 deficit into a 28-16 halftime lead.

Too many turnovers (6) led to 13 Bulldog points. Too few shots made (3-of-10) got the Trojans only seven points. The bulk of Syracuse's six field goals (4) were three's.

It just wasn't a good quarter for Stanton County, but it sure looked good for Syracuse.

"We tried to change up a little bit because we wanted to find a winning way," Stephenson said. "But they're just so athletic," he added of Syracuse's ability to adjust.

Syracuse opened the lead to 33-18 midway into the third period, but Stanton County whittled that down to 10 thanks to a three by Seth Holliday and two layups by Quinn Kendrick.

Both teams played the turnover game (five combined) to end the quarter by that same margin, but it seemed to give the Trojans some momentum heading into the final period.

After Syracuse, the No. 7-ranked team in Class 2A, went up 42-28, the Trojans made runs of their own. Austin Nairn scored twice and Leighton Grover and Marques Logan a bucket each off turnovers to get within six.

The Trojans forced turnovers on five of Syracuse's six possessions at one point, and Fabian Sierra's offensive putback off the glass at 1:46 cut the lead to 43-38.

Syracuse, however, pulled the offense out to halfcourt, forcing Stanton County to foul. J.D. Howell sank a pair of free throws at 1:09 to boost the lead back to seven, but Sierra had another follow shot to close within five again.

Two more free throws down the stretch, though, gave the Bulldogs the victory and a spot in the finals against Meade.

The fourth quarter was a good one for the Trojans, just too little too late.

"We stopped turning the ball over on offense and played more aggressively on defense," Stephenson said. "It turned our game around a little for us, but obviously not enough."

For Mathias, the key phrase was "held on," as in, "We have yet to handle the pressure in some games very well. It's something we're improving on, but we still have some ways to go. But we held on."

Leading the way for Syracuse (9-1) were James Burkett with 13, and Dustin Sibley and Parks with nine each. Together that trio hit 8-of-13 three-pointers.

Syracuse was 8-of-17 from three-point land, and only 6-of-16 from inside the arc. They shot 42 percent overall.

Stanton County (7-3) was just 3-of-16 from beyond the arc and only 16-of-42 overall for 38 percent.

They were led in scoring by Sierra's 13 and seven each from Kendrick and Logan. In all, Stanton County shot just 16-of-42 from the field for 38 percent.

The Meade-Syracuse title game is set for 8 p.m., and it will be the first time the two have met this season.

Stanton County will face Sublette in the third-place game at 4:30.

____

Stanton County 9 7 12 22 -- 40

Syracuse 8 20 10 9 -- 47

Stanton Co. — Holliday 1 0-0 3, Kendrixk 3 1-1 7, Nairn 2 0-1 4, Carrasco 1 2-2 4, Logan 3 0-0 7, Sierra 5 2-2 13, Grover 1 0-0 2. Total 16 5-6 40.

Syracuse — Howell 1 4-6 6, Parks 3 0-0 9, Sion 2 1-2 5, McAllistter 1 1-2 3, Sibley 3 0-0 9, Melcher 0 2-3 2, Burkett 4 3-4 13. Total 14 11-17 47.

3-pt. goals — Stanton Co. 3 (Holliday 1), Logan 1, Sierra 1), Syracuse 8 (Parks 3, Sibley 3, Burkett 2).

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In the first semifinal game, Meade, the No. 4-ranked team in 2A, held off a determined Sublette team, the state’s No. 8 team, to beat the Larks 44-40, only the second loss of the season for Sublette.
The other loss? A 49-46 loss in early December to those same Buffaloes.
Meade’s superior height and size proved to be too much for the Larks as they set up a fortress-like 3-2 zone to squelch Sublette’s inside game, forcing the Larks to the outside.
The game didn’t start badly for the Larks. They took a 13-10 lead at the quarter break, thanks in part to Travis Leverett’s trio of three’s and 11 points. Unfortunately, he was held to just a pair of free throws the rest of the game.
Both teams were cold the last three minutes of the opening quarter, with Sublette going 0-for-5 and Meade 1-for-2 for a combined two points in that time.
Meade went on a 10-4 run in the second quarter to open up a 23-17 lead. Taylor Williamson’s basket with 54 seconds left and Joe Lower’s putback near the buzzer closed the gap to 23-21 at the half.
Sublette tied the game on Leverett’s free throws at 5:49 and Meade went cold from the field to keep it close, but a buzzer-beating layup by Taylor Wiens gave Meade a 33-29 lead at the break.
Meade (9-1) came out on fire in the fourth quarter, going 3-for-3 while Sublette went 0-for-4. Suddenly the four-point lead was up to 11 at the 5:03 mark.
Credit Sublette (8-2) with heart, though, as they held the Buffaloes to just a field goal and a pair of free throws the rest of the way.
For their part, the Larks scored on their next four possessions as Alex White got the hot hand, hitting a running jumper and a breakaway layup, closing with a deep three-pointer from the left arc. After that shot, it was Meade 42-40 with 1:12 left.
But that was it.
“I knew if I drove, either my teammates would be open or I’d have an open layup or jump shot,” White said. “That was my motive for the second half.”
White ended the game with 17 points, 14 of those coming in the second half.
Leverett finished with 15, with all but two of those in the first half. Credit the Meade team for the win, he said, but that doesn’t mean he’s happy about it.
“Even if they’re a ranked opponent, we hate losing to them,” Leverett said. The Larks have another shot at them at Meade on Tuesday, and maybe again in sub-state, he added.
Kellen Hernandez was the lone Buffalo in double figures with 18. Wiens added eight and Colton Little seven.
Inside, Randy Friesen used his 6-8 presence to pull down 12 boards, block four shots, and generally clog up the lane.
Sublette coach Matt Ziegler took the loss in stride.
“I thought our defensive effort was there. We were playing a team that scored 85 points on Tuesday and held them to 44,” he said.
———
Semifinals
Sublette    13    8    8    11    —    40
Meade    10    13    10    11    —    44
Sublette — White 8 0-0 17, Tra. Leverett 5 2-2 15, Williamson 2 2-3 6, Lower 1 0-0 2, Total 16  4-5 40.
Meade — Hernandez 6 4-4 18, Wiens 4 0-1 8, C. Little 3 0-1 7, R. Friesen 2 1-4 5, Gleason 2 0-0 4, Davis 1 0-0 2, Total 18 5-10 44.
3-pt. goals — Sublette 4 (Leverett 3, White 1), Meade 3 (Hernandez 2, Little 1).
Consolation
Cimarron    13    12    9    12    —    46
Wichita Co.    15    9    12    8    —    44
Cimarron — Fairbank 5 1-2 13, Hoskinson 3 0-2 9, Franzitta 2 2-2 6, Boersma 2 0-0 5, Neuschafer 2 0-0 4, Byer 1 2-2 4, Garcia 1 1-2 3, Trevind 1 0-0 2, Total 17 10-6 46.
Wichita Co. — G. Martinez 4 2-3 10, Budde 4 0-0 9, Kreatzer 4 0-0 8, Fletcher 4 0-2 8, Holguin 2 1-2 6, J. Martinez 1 0-0 2, Bl. Nickelsoon 0 1-4 1, Total 19 4-11 44.
3-pt. goals — Cimarron 6 (Hoskinson 3, Boersma 1, Fairbank 2), Wichita Co. 4 (Holguin 1, Budde 1, G. Martinez 2).
____
Lakin    12    9    14    16    —    51
SW Heights    2    9    13    17    —    41
Lakin — Hamel 11 3-3 25, Armstrong 4 0-0 8, Kinnier 3 0-0 6, Miller 2 0-0 5, Davidson 1 0-0 3, Shalberg 1 0-0 2, Total 22 3-3 51.
SW Heights — Dutton 5 0-0 14, Chase 4 0-0 8, Johnsrud 3 0-1 7, Sherer 2 0-0 6, Herrera 1 1-2 4, Worsham 1 0-0 2, Total 16 1-3 41.
3-pt. goals — Lakin 2 (Miller 1, Davidson 1), SW Heights 8 (Herrera 1, Johnsrud 1, Sherer 2, Dutton 4).

Girls
Consolation
Stanton County    13    11    21    7    —    52
Syracuse    7    4    0    10    —    22
Stanton County — Martin 5 4-6 17, Daniels 4 7-9 17, McKinney 2 2-2 6, Nichols 2 0-0 4, Surita 2 0-0 4, Summers 1 0-0 2, Moore 0 1-2 1, Total 14 14-20 52.
Syracuse — Dowell 2 1-2 5, Cashler 2 0-0 4, Horton 2 0-2 4, Newton 0 3-4 3, Gerard 1 0-4 2, Housholder 1 0-0 2, Norton 1 0-0 2, Total 9 4-15 22.
3-pt. goals — Stanton Co. 5 (Daniels 2, Martin 3), Syracuse 0.
____
Lakin    8    6    21    6    —    41
Meade    16    2    15    13    —    46
Lakin — McAtee 5 0-0 15, Rogers 1 4-9 6, Hill 3 0-1 6, Armstrong 2 1-2 5, Davidson 2 1-3 3, Waechter 0 2-2 2, Jones 0 2-2 2, Total 13 11-18 41.
Meade — Friesen 8 4-5 21, Larrabee 3 0-1 7, Reimer 1 4-4 6, Cordes 2 0-0 4, Miller 0 2-2 2, Cook 1 0-1 2, Mashier 1 0-0 2, Hensen 0 0-2 0, Total 15  10-15 46.
3-pt. goals — Lakin 5 (McAtee 5), Meade 2 (Larrabee 1, Friesen 1).

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