ULYSSES Ulysses Tigers' boys basketball coach Jason Jones had a goal of his team making seven 3-point baskets Tuesday against Hugoton.

The Tigers came up just short making six treys, but more important hit 12-of-14 free throws in the final quarter, including 10 in a row, to thwart the Eagles, 52-40. The win amends for a six-point loss to Hugoton at the Red & Blue Classic in December.

"I don't know if this was really a lot different than the first game," Jones said. "But we just made a few more shots, and I can honestly tell you we've never made 10 consecutive free throws, especially at crunch time."

While the final 12-point margin may be a comfortable win, this was anything but relaxing for the Tigers.

Ulysses did lead at the end of each quarter by margins of 9-6, 19-18 and 35-32, but they were on the short end of a 32-29 score with just two minutes to play in the third quarter.

"(Ulysses) just made the plays and we didn't," Hugoton coach Jason Hajek said. "When we needed a stop, we couldn't get it. When we needed a basket, we couldn't get it. When they went on their little run (six straight points to end the third), we didn't have an answer."

Of the six points at the end of the quarter, Bryce Moral got two on a pair of free throws and Joel Jarnagin made 1-of-2 charity shots before drilling a deep 3-pointer with 22 seconds left to break the tie at 32 and give the Tigers a lead they would never relinquish.

In the fourth quarter, the Tigers opened with a 3-pointer by Moral and a two-point basket by Braden Langston to up the lead to eight with 5:32 to play. The Eagles were still within striking distance, trailing 43-38, with 2:33 left, but that's when the free throw parade began. Kyle Zerr was 8-of-8 from the line down the stretch, while Moral made 3-of-4.

"We struggle to score points so when we're not making the outside shots, we have a difficult time," Hajek said. "Even this late into the season we're still trying to figure out who our go-to player is."

It had been 10 days since the Tigers took the court and that came in the third-place game at the Colby Orange and Black Classic, losing to McCook, Neb., 47-44. The Tigers game at Garden City last Friday was postponed due to the winter storm and some of the cobwebs had to be cleared for the Ulysses offense.

"There was nothing pretty about this game," Jones said. "Just an old-fashioned slugfest. I knew they'd try and sag in and were just daring us to shoot from the outside. So that's what we had to do."

Zerr's 16 points led Ulysses (9-4) and Moral followed with 13. Keithan Martin and Cody Frederick led the Eagles (4-10) with 14 and 13 points, respecitvely.

Hugoton is at Sublette on Friday, and Ulysses hosts Larned.


HUGOTON (4-10) Concannon 1-8 0-0 2, Lulf 0-1 0-0 0, Martin 6-14 0-0 14, Frederick 6-9 0-2 13, Persinger 2-6 0-0 4, Gifford 1-4 4-5 6, Lopez 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 16-42 5-9 40.

ULYSSES (9-4) Zerr 3-5 8-8 16, Malone 1-4 2-2 4, Moral 3-5 6-8 13, Jarnagin 2-4 1-2 6, Sullivan 0-0 0-0 0, Langston 3-9 1-2 9, Perez 0-5 0-0 0, Kissel 0-1 0-0 0, Porras 0-1 0-0 0, Oliver 2-5 0-3 4. Totals 14-37 18-25 52.

Hugoton 6 12 14 8 -- 40

Ulysses 9 10 16 17 -- 52

3-point goals Hugoton 3-14 (Concannon 0-6, Lulf 0-1, Martin 2-5, Frederick 1-2), Ulysses 6-15 (Zerr 2-4, Malone 0-1, Moral 1-1, Jarnagin 1-2, Langston 2-5, Perez 0-2). Rebounds Hugoton 30 (Persinger 8), Ulysses 27 (Moral 7). Turnovers Hugoton 16, Ulysses 12. Fouls Hugoton 15, Ulysses 13. Fouled out None.