By RON PRESTON
MARYSVILLE —Going to Marysville and getting a win is a relief to Abilene Coach Terry Taylor.
“Anytime you get a win here, it’s a good win,” Taylor said following the 54-44 Abilene Cowboy victory over the Marysville Bulldogs, Friday.
The game was close until the final minutes of the North Central Kansas League basketball game.
The Bulldogs opened the game with a quick shot by Garrett Kort for 2-0 lead.
The lead lasted for one trip down the court as Keil Kelly tied the game with a shot from the top of the key.
Abilene extended the lead to five points with two layups by Andy Wilson and a free throw by Kelly.
Kort got the Bulldogs right back in the game with a trey from the right corner at the 2:54 mark of the first quarter.
Following a Cowboy time out, Jacob Harms hit two inside baskets to make the Cowboy lead 13-7.
The Bulldogs closed out the quarter with a basket by Garrison Wright at the 45.1 mark. Kelly added one of two free throws for the Cowboys to end quarter number one at 14-9 mark.
Harms and Matthew Barlow started the second quarter for the Cowboys with two quick baskets to stretch the lead to 18-9.
The Bulldogs charged back with offensive rebounds, second chance shooting and another trey from Kort to get the game within one point 23-22 with 1:54 remaining in the half.
Marysville took its only lead of the game 25-23 with 38.5 seconds left following a traditional three-point play by Brandon Griffee.
Kelly answered with his own three-point play to regain the Cowboy lead and the half time score 26-25.
The Cowboys came out in the second half with a little more intensity than they showed in the first half and stretched the one point lead to 4, 5 or 6 points and kept it at that throughout the second half.
The third quarter saw the Cowboys out score the Bulldogs 12-8 to take the lead 38-33 at the end of three periods.
In the fourth quarter, Wilson scored 9 of his 13 points including two treys. The second one put the Cowboy in the lead, 51-41, with 3:11 left to play.
Abilene began to run the spread offense to run time off the clock at 1:04 mark. Kelly was fouled and made one of two free throws to make the score 52-41.
Marysville’s Tanner Wright took the rebounded outlet pass and shoot a trey with 36.6 seconds left to bring the score to 52-44, Cowboys.
In the final seconds following an Abilene turnover, Wilson blocked a Bulldog shot and Harms grabbed the rebound and passed off to Wilson, but he was fouled on the play. Harms would hit both free throws for the final score 54-44.
“This wasn’t our best game of the season. We kept shooting ourselves in the foot with turnovers, shots we normally make, we didn’t and defensively we lost out man sometimes,” coach Taylor commented following the game.
Harms began hitting hook shots over Wright, Marysville’s big man under the basket, and he was perfect 6-6 from the free throw line.
“Jacob shot well at the line and played well against a big body, a big strong body (Wright) under the basket,” coach Taylor added.
Harms led the Cowboys with 16 points, Kelly put in 14 and Wilson added 13 points.
“Good team effort tonight, nobody really stood out, just a good team effort,” coach Taylor said.
“This win keeps us in conference lead talk. We get a non-league game on Tuesday with a very good, ranked 3A Silver Lake team and then next Friday a huge rematch with Wamego at their place. Our kids will be ready to go up there,” coach Taylor concluded.
The Cowboys go to 12-2 overall and 6-1 in the NCKL and will host the seventh ranked 3A Silver Lake Eagles on Tuesday.
Abilene 54, Marysville 44
Abilene 14 12 12 16 -54
Marysville 9 16 8 11 -44
Abilene: Barlow 5, Wilson 13, Kelly 14, Patrick 4, Gonzales 2, Harms 16.
Marysville: Crome 7, T. Wright 3, Kort 13, Griffee 13, G. Wright 8.