By RON PRESTON
Basketball is a game of four quarters and good teams have to play with the same intensity and aggressiveness in each of those four quarters.
The Abilene Cowboys found that out Tuesday night in a non-conference game.
Although it may have seemed that the Abilene Cowboys were out hustled in the first two quarters, they showed their coach, fans and themselves they came to win this game against the seventh ranked team in Class 3A, Silver Lake Eagles by a score of 70-57.
“We really had a better second half than we did the first,” said Cowboy Coach Terry Taylor following the game.
“We had a lot of turnovers, missed shots and had some silly fouls in the first half,” he said.
The Cowboys opened the game with an 11-2 run before Silver Lake put in a quick seven points to cut the first quarter lead to 2 points by the Cowboys.
Marcus Gonzales got an offensive rebound and put back basket for the Cowboys to end the first quarter 15-11, Cowboys.
The second quarter saw Silver Lake’s Tyler Brown score four quick points to tie the game at 15 with less than a minute off the clock.
Keil Kelly got a layup basket from a Matthew Barlow assist to push the Cowboys ahead to stay at 17-15 and stretch the lead at one point to eight points, 31-23, with 2:10 remaining in the first half.
Silver Lake, behind the scoring of Brown who had 18 points in the first half, began to chip away at lead and the Cowboys lead by four at half, 33-29.
The second half was a different story. The Cowboys came out after the intermission with super intensity on both ends of the court.
“Our intensity changed in the second half, you take a 4-point half time lead and open it up to 20, we were up by 20 at one time in the fourth quarter, it’s a good second half,” commented coach Taylor.
Offensively the Cowboys stretched the lead to 10 points by the end of the third quarter, 50-40. Kelly and Jacob Harms had key baskets in the third period with assists from Jesse Patrick and Andy Wilson.
Defensively is where the Cowboys showed their merit by limiting Brown to only for points, all free throws, in the second half.
“The Brown kid had 18 points in the first half and only 4 in the second half. Good effort defensively in the second half shut him down. Jacob, Marcus and Keil really stepped up to limit his shots,” coach Taylor added.
The Cowboys had stretched the lead to 68-47 with 2:30 remaining in the game.
Coach Taylor cleared his bench at the 1:15 mark with the victory in hand and the Cowboy lead at 70-56.
Brown would hit one of two free throws for Silver Lake in the final seconds to end the game 70- 57.
Next up for the 14-2 Cowboys is a tough North Central Kansas League contest on the road at Wamego, Friday.
“The winner of Friday’s match up with Wamego is in the driver’s seat for the NCKL title. We’ve got to take care of business and come out with a win,” concluded coach Taylor.
Abilene 70, Silver Lake 57
Silver Lake 11 18 11 17-57
Abilene 15 18 17 20-70
Silver Lake: Burdick 13, Vega 4, Pfannenstiel 9, Smith 9, Brown 22.
Abilene: Barlow 10, Wilson 15, Anderson 3, Kelly 21, Patrick 2, Gonzales 8, Harms 11.