Southwestern Heights boys trump Cimarron
By KEVIN THOMPSON
CIMARRON — Knowing who your sub-state opponent is can make a big difference.
Cimarron and Southwestern Heights gave a preview of Tuesday's opening round on Saturday, as the league rivals squared off against each other in a game that was supposed to be played Thursday, before Mother Nature changed all that.
Heights won this battle 71-56, but both coaches know that probably won't mean much come next week, when they face each other again in the opening round of the post-season.
Just five weeks ago, Cimarron took care of the Mustangs 50-45 in the Hi-Plains League tournament. Saturday's game was Heights' turn.
Everything seemed to go Heights' way from the start. After Cimarron took a 9-6 lead midway into the first quarter, the Mustangs went on a 10-0 run and ended the period with a 5-point lead.
A 10-3 run to open the next period and 7-0 to end it seemed to put the game in their hands as the Mustangs took a 35-22 halftime lead.
Caleb Fischer came out hot and kept the 'Jays in the game. He started with a pair of threes then four two-point field goals as he went on a 12-5 run himself.
His efforts helped cut the Mustang lead to seven twice in the third, but the Heights offense didn't relent.
Clayton Chase led a balanced scoring effort, netting 20 points on 10-for-14 shooting. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Ben Johnsrud had 17 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Nate Johnsrud added 11 points.
As a team, the Mustangs were 30-of-56 from the floor (54 percent) and out-rebounded the 'Jays 40-26.
"We didn't know what we're going to get since we haven't had practice since Tuesday," Mustangs coach Nefro Saucedo said. "Having a lot of upperclassmen really helped. They knew what we were wanting to do."
Saucedo said one goal was securing second place in the league, which they did, going 7-1 with this win.
"Turning around playing Cimarron again (Tuesday night), we knew we had to come out and see what we could do," he said. "We're wanting to be peaking at this time, and we just wanted to keep rebounding and spread out our scoring."
Nine Mustangs got in the scoring column. Saucedo said it's a luxury to know his team doesn't have to rely on just one or two guys to do the bulk of the scoring.
"We've got guys starting to understand their roles, so hopefully we can keep going with it," he said.
Cimarron coach Dave Losey had a simple reason for the loss — too many missed shots.
"We've just got to make shots. We missed so many short shots," he said.
That was especially true in the second half, when a number of point-blank shots failed to go down.
Both teams shot 56 times, but Cimarron made 9 fewer.
"But there's no sense getting upset about it," Losey said. "They know it. I know it. We were getting good looks. We didn't finish, but they did."
Heights also beat his team up and down the floor more than he expected, he said, something the Mustangs didn't do in their first meeting.
"That just kind of surprised us," Losey said. "We'll be prepared for it next time."
Fisher led the 'Jays with 14 points, while Christian Fischer added 12.
Caleb Fischer's performance is a good confidence booster for someone who has struggled somewhat of late with injuries, Losey said.
"We told him to just shoot, and once he did, he was just on. He's a lefty, and he's got a nice shot," he said.
SW Heights 18 17 19 17 -- 71
Cimarron 13 9 20 14 -- 56
SW Heights (12-8, 7-1) — Herrera 1 0-0 3, B. Johnsrud 6 2-2 17, N. Johnsrud 3 4-6 11, DeLatorre 2 0-0 4, Lee 2 0-0 4, R.Martinez 4 0-0 8, Chase 10 0-0 20, Metcalf 1 0-0 2, A. Loya 1 0-1 2. Totals 30-56 6-9 71.
Cimarron (13-7, 4-4) — Ca. Fischer 6 0-1 14, Toothaker 2 0-0 4, Clark 1 1-2 3, Ch. Fischer 4 4-7 12, Boersma 1 3-4 5, Meis 1 0-0 2, Fairbank 2 3-4 8, A. Neuschafer 3 0-0 6, Thomas 1 0-0 2.
3-pt. goals — SW Heights 5-11 (Herrera, B. Johnsrud 3, N. Johnsrud), Cimarron 3-9 (Ca. Fischer 2, Fairbank). Rebounds — SW Heights 40 (Chase 10, Lee 7, N. Johnsrud 6), Cimarron 26 (Fairbank 7, Ch.Fischer 6). Turnovers — SW Heights 17, Cimarron 14. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. Total fouls — SW Heights 14, Cimarron 11.