There was no quit in the Stanton County Trojans in the first boys semifinal of the Hi-Plains League tournament Friday night.
Unfortunately, they needed a bit more than hustle and fight down the stretch as they couldn’t overcome a late surge from Meade, falling 56-48.
The Trojans had a 44-42 lead heading into the final period, but they scored just four points — a pair of free throws and one field goal — as they went 1 of 15 from the field down the stretch.
Meade, meanwhile, hit 8-of 10 free throws and out-boarded Stanton County 13-7 to advance to Saturday night’s finals.
Stanton County coach Shane Traughber pin-pointed two areas where his team fell shot
“One — execution. We didn’t execute the way we wanted to," he said. "And two — we got a lot of good open looks, but we didn’t shoot as well as we normally do. But we have to execute better.”
The Trojans took a 46-42 lead early in the fourth quarter, that following four consecutive scores to end the third period and take the lead, but Meade went ahead with just more than five minutes to play on an inbound play under their own basket and a little layup from Vance Shewey.
The Trojans managed just one basket at the 2:02 mark. Meade spread its offense, running off time and holding on for the win.
Stanton County hit its first three shots to take an early 6-0 lead, but Meade countered with five scores on six possessions to close the gap, finishing the quarter down just 15-14.
The Buffs took their first lead at 16-15, with Michael Aleman getting it back for the Trojans with a trey.
Meade then took the lead on a Greyson Haynes free throw at the 6:20 mark, 19-18, a lead they held the rest of the half.
But it was also the start of a two-team scoring drought as the final six minutes saw just five combined field goals.
The two teams hit for just 20-of-49 shooting, indicative of the up-and-down nature of the opening half.
Creed Puyear opened the second half with his first two field goals of the game to cut the lead to two points, but Meade went on six straight possessions to take a 40-33 lead.
From there, it was Trojans on the attack as they closed out the third period with an 11-2 run, capped by Michael Aleman falling to the floor, throwing the ball towards the basket, and banking in the go-ahead shot. Meade’s ability to dominate the boards in the fourth period played a big role in how his team performed in the final eight minutes, Traughber said.
“Meade just flat out wanted the 50-50 balls more than we did tonight. They wanted it really bad so they went and got it,” he said. “We’re going to take our lumps and hopefully learn from it and come back stronger.”