By KEVIN THOMPSON
LAKIN — Coming off a string of tough losses in recent weeks, Lakin was hoping to find the right combination in the fourth annual Kearny County Shootout.
On the other side of the court, Deerfield was looking to continue gaining traction, having won three of its last four games.
In the end, it was the host Broncs who found a way to close out its fourth-straight Shootout win with a 55-48 win over the Spartans.
But for fans expecting to see a lot of field goals, neither team made over 15.
They were treated instead to an intense matchup that matched Deerfield's speed versus Lakin's size and depth.
The Spartans caused 26 Lakin turnovers, but they only turned that into 16 points.
The Broncs out-rebounded Deerfield 31-20, limiting the Spartans to mostly one shot a possession.
In either case, it was a tight game throughout.
Lakin held an 18-13 lead after a quarter with half its points coming from the free-throw line.
They doubled that lead at halftime, despite 16 turnovers in that span.
After intermission, the Spartan defense came out strong, forcing five early turnovers and holding the Broncs to just a field goal and a free throw.
After cutting the lead to six at the 4:41 mark, Deerfield still couldn't make the Lakin mistakes count, though they did close the gap after three to 39-32 and started the final period with a bucket to cut the lead to five.
But that was the closest they would get as they couldn't convert scoring opportunities and Lakin's offense woke up just at the right time.
Coach Nate Schmitt felt relieved to get the win and get back on track, especially against a tenacious opponent like Deerfield.
"It was a battle for us. They created some tough match ups for us and we're fortunate enough to get out of here with a win," he said.
Credit Lakin's size difference for much of the win, Schmitt said.
Ryder Yakel and Gage McAtee both scored 12 points.
But posts Ian Shelden (15 points, 11 boards) and Javier Esquivel (8 and 10) clogged up the inside against a leaner Spartan squad
"We were doing a decent job getting them the ball tonight so they could show their talents inside in the post," he said. "I'm very proud of them. I thought they went strong. They battled and did a good job."
Part of that translated to foul shot opportunities, where the Broncs were 23 of 35. That means his team was aggressive offensively, Schmitt said, and attacking the basket.
On the other side, Deerfield shot 23 foul shots but converted just 12. That's partly the Broncs not playing as good on defense, Schmitt added.
Credit Deerfield for playing hard, he said.
"They wanted to win the game. They came in here with probably the most talented team they've had the last four years," he said.
Deerfield coach Bob Schmitz echoed his counterpart's comments about how hard a battle the game was.
"There's nothing bad I can say about how hard the kids fought and played," he said. "Lakin is a big, physical team and we're not as tall and big."
A strong rivalry exists among the players, even though the Shootout is just four years old. But it's a testament to the intensity of the play from both sides.
"We'd have liked to get the win," Schmitz said. "Maybe if we hadn't dug ourselves a 10-point hole in the first half we could have maybe done it."
Schmitz said his team did everything they needed to in the third quarter to mount a comeback, from pressure to steals.
"We just couldn't convert as many times as we had the chance to," he said.
For the night, Deerfield was just 15 of 51 from the floor (30 percent), 10 percent under its season average. If they could have converted just a few more shots in the third period when Lakin scored just four points, it might have made a big difference.
"I give Lakin credit for a lot of that," he said. "They contested a lot of shots."
Anthony Mata led the Spartans with 13 points, but he was the only one in double figures.
For Schmitt, it was a good win to help his team get back on track with some tough games coming up.
"I was proud of the way they fought," he said. "Things didn't go our way in the second half, but they kept battling."
Deerfield 13 12 7 16 -- 48
Lakin 18 17 4 16 -- 55
Deerfield (6-6)--Al. Mata 4 1-2 9, M. Mata 2 5-6 9, An. Mata 5 2-2 13, Fisher 0 2-2 2, Ortiz 1 0-0 3, Rubio 0 1-2 1, Skipper 3 2-9 8, Rich 0 1-2 1. Totals 15-51 12-23 48.
Lakin (5-8)--Shelden 5 5-10 15, Reyes 0 1-2 1, Aparicio 1 1-2 3, McAtee 2 8-12 12, Yakel 3 44-5 12, Esquivel 2 4-4 8, Klassen 1 0-0 2. Totals 14-32 23-35 55.
3-point goals--Deerfield2-13 (An. Mata, Ortiz), Lakin 2-6 (Yakel 2). Rebounds--Deerfield 20 (M. Mata 6), Lakin 31 (Shelden 11, Esquivel 10). Turnovers--Deerfield 13, Lakin 26. Fouled out--Rubio. Total fouls--Deerfield 24, Lakin 22. Technical fouls--none.
Lakin girls 57, Deerfield 14
The Lady Broncs looked to continue their winning ways before a home crowd in the fourth annual Kearny County Shootout.
Lakin won its fourth-straight game and sixth in the last eight with a convincing 57-14 win over visiting Deerfield.
In doing so, the Broncs increased their lead in the young series to 3-1.
Lakin outscored the Lady Spartans 16-6 and 16-4 in the opening quarters to put the game away early.
The closest Deerfield got to the Broncs was down 6-4 midway into the opening quarter. That's when Watkins dropped in back-to-back 3s.
Mariah Watkins led the Broncs with 16 points, doing all her scoring in the first half.
Robin Ritsema added 12.
Eleven Lakin players got in the scorebook.
Deerfield, which fell to 0-11, was led by Lizzy Diaz with eight points.
Turnovers plagued the Spartans as they gave it up 24 times. And Lakin used its size to out-rebound Deerfield 30-13.
Deerfield 6 4 2 2 -- 14
Lakin 17 16 16 8 -- 57
Deerfield (0-11)--Llamas 0 0-1 0, Ibarra 1 1-2 4, Diaz 4 0-0 8, Chavira 1 0-1 2. Totals 6-32 1-4 14.
Lakin (8-7)--Martinez 2 0-0 4, Watkins 6 2-3 16, Ritsema 6 0-0 12, Calderon 3 0-1 7, Simmons 1 4-4 6, Hendrix 1 0-0 2, Reed 0 1-4 1, Dale 1 0-2 2, Kirby 0 1-2 1, Line 1 0-0 2, Morgan 2 0-3 4. Totals 23-50 8-19 57.
3-point goals--Deerfield 1-14 (Ibarra), Lakin 3-8 (Calderon, Watkins 2). Rebounds--Deerfield 13 (Diaz 3, Chavira 3), Lakin 30 (Ritsema 7). Turnovers--Deerfield 24, Lakin 14. Fouled out--none. Total fouls--Deerfield 17, Lakin 12. Technical fouls--none.