By RON PRESTON
When you cannot get a 3- point shot to go in, you find other ways to win.
That is exactly what the Abilene Cowboys did Friday night defeating the Concordia Panthers 62-54, in a tough battle at the Abilene gym in a North Central Kansas League basketball game.
“We survived on a night when we didn’t shoot the ball very well. Couldn’t make a three tonight. Could not buy one tonight,” Abilene Coach Terry Taylor commented after the game.
Senior post player Jacob Harms provided the answer as he scored a game high 24 points, with 20 coming in the second half.
Harms was tough under the basket with assists from teammates Andy Wilson and Matthew Barlow amongst others to get the ball to the big man for the Cowboys.
“Fortunately out post players played well. Harms and Marcus Gonzales, off the bench played well. We figured out how to win without the three ball. This is the first game all year the three left us. Our shooters played well with steals, assists and other areas – just couldn’t hit the three tonight,” coach Taylor added.
The Cowboys took an early lead and held the Panthers scoreless until three minutes were left in the first quarter. Abilene led 12-6 at the end of the first period.
Concordia came back tough in the second quarter by getting the ball into the hands of their own big man Gabe Bergmann who put in 5 points for the Panthers.
The Panthers cut into the Cowboy momentum and lead and trailed, 24-21, at the half.
Marcus Gonzales came off the bench for Abilene to shoot a jumper to help provide the 3 - point half time lead. Gonzales played well on both ends of the court in relief of Harms when needed.
Concordia fought back early in the third period to take their first lead of the game 27-26 at the 6:15 mark.
Both teams traded baskets for much of the third period until Harms had a traditional 3 - point play off of an offensive rebound put back and free throw with 4.4 seconds left in the period to make the score, 41-37, Cowboy lead.
Abilene continued to get the ball to Harms under the basket during the fourth quarter with a key assist from Jesse Patrick to get the lead to 10 points, 50-40, at the 4:28 mark in the game.
The Panthers kept chipping away at the lead and finally had to foul to put Abilene at the line and preserve time on the clock.
Barlow went 5 - 6 and Harms 3 - 4 from the stripe to preserve the Cowboy win 62-54.
“We made free throws down the end of the game to provide the win. Concordia is tough for us, they play tough and they really prepare for us,” coach Taylor said.
“We had a nice crowd tonight and that helped us. There were a lot of things we would have liked to do better, but I’m sure Concordia had something to do with that. Our kids feel good; we are looking for another tough game Tuesday against Wamego. We need to knock them off at home to maintain a lead at the top of the league,” he said.
Player note: Senior Trevor Witt is listed as week to week because of an injury and coach Taylor hopes he will be available by tournament time.
Abilene goes to 11-2 and will host Wamego on Tuesday night for a NCKL contest.
Abilene 62, Concordia 54
Concordia 6 15 16 17 - 54
Abilene 12 12 17 21 - 62
Concordia: K. Pounds 2, A. Garcia 3, J. Pounds 5, G. Holmes 18, C. Holmes 17, Bergmann 9.
Abilene: Barlow 7, Wilson 3, Anderson 5, Kelly 12, Patrick 4, Gonzales 7, Harms 24.
Abilene JV. 56, Concordia 41
Concordia 15 8 11 7 – 41
Abilene 16 14 16 10 - 56
Concordia: Toogood 11, Coppoc 7, Bechard 6, Garcia 5, Kennedy 4, Mares 4, Strait 2, Frost 2.
Abilene: Hodges 15, Barbieri 12, Johnson 10, Hoekman 9, Robinson 4, Goodwin 4, Koop 2.