By RON PRESTON
WAMEGO – It was one of those nights for the Cowboys. Actually, it was one of those nights for both teams in this North Central Kansas League game between Abilene and Wamego.
“It was one of those nights the ball didn’t go in for either team,” said Cowboy Coach Terry Taylor following a 34-33 loss to the Wamego Red Raiders.
“I don’t think it was great defense either, both teams got good looks, the ball just wouldn’t go in,” said Taylor.
The first quarter saw both teams miss timely baskets and using a pressure defense to take advantage of each other’s missed shots and turnovers.
Jesse Patrick hit an inside basket from an assist by Andy Wilson at 30.0 mark to give the Cowboys a 13-12 first period lead.
Jacob Harms scored 9 of his game high 15 points in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw missed opportunities after missed opportunities for both teams.
The Cowboys could only muster 6 points in the period, but Wamego would only hit 8 and end with a 20-19 lead at half time.
The Red Raiders took a 20-15 point lead at the 4:34 mark in the first half but wouldn’t score again in the second period.
Harms would hit an inside shot at the 3:30 mark to make the score 20-17, Wamego.
Tanner Hoekman got a fast break layup for the Cowboys with two minutes remaining in the half to end the scoring for both teams.
Following the intermission, the third quarter seemed like a continuation of the second quarter with both teams missing shots and turning the ball over to the other team.
The Cowboys uncharacteristically would squander the opportunity to take the lead by connecting on only one of seven free throw attempts and trailed 26-24 at the end of three.
The final eight minutes saw Wamego stretch the lead to five, 30-25 with offensive rebounds and second chance baskets by Marshall Wethington, who scored 4 of his 6 points in this period.
Abilene countered this with full court pressure defense for the remainder of the game.
Keil Kelly got the Cowboys within 3 points at 32-29 by hitting a pair of free throws at the 3:42 mark in the game.
Harms followed shortly with an inside basket to move the score 32-31, Wamego.
Wamego called a time out at the 2:23 mark and called a second one at 1:37 remaining after a Red Raider turnover and no points being scored.
One of the highlights of the game came at the 1:22 mark when Cowboy Andy Wilson got a steal and dribbled up the side line, around a stopped game official, and then to the center of the lane for an easy lay up to give the Cowboys the lead 33-32.
The Cowboys called a time out following this shot.
Neither team could get anything to fall and Wamego took a time out with 32.2 seconds to play and still down, 33-32.
Following their time out, they got the ball inside to Isaac Poe, who was fouled on his second offensive rebound attempt put back shot.
Poe went to the free throw line with 10.6 seconds left in the game and made the first of his two free throws to tie the game.
Abilene coach Taylor would call a time out before Poe’s second free throw attempt to set up Abilene’s plan following the shot.
Poe made his second shot brining the score 34-33, Wamego.
Abilene got the ball with 10.6 remaining to play and drove the length of the court and dished the ball off to Harms under the basket.
The ball hit the rim and fell away as time ran out for a 34-33 Wamego victory.
“It was one of those nights we struggled to score and still had a chance to win,” said coach Taylor.
“We had a great opportunity at the end. We penetrated, dished the ball to Jake, our best post player, got a good look, there was contact but no foul was called and the ball just didn’t get in,” Taylor added.
“We played hard. I thought the difference in the game was their offensive rebounds. They had more points in the paint on put back baskets. We settled for the 15 foot jump shot and it didn’t go and the free throw line wasn’t kind to us either. Couldn’t buy a trey, none were made by either team,” Taylor said.
Abilene shot 5 of 14 from the free throw line.
“It was a disappointment, our kids played hard all night. It is hard to look good as a team when the ball doesn’t go in the hole,” he said.
“Now we hope for some help out of Concordia when they face the Raiders next Friday, so that we can still get a share of the league title. We’ll regroup and I think we’ve got kids that are a little upset in the locker room and they’ll come out on Tuesday night against Hays and then face Clay Center on Thursday, senior night,” concluded Taylor.
Next up for the Cowboys (14-3) are the Hays High Indians on Tuesday followed by Clay Center on Thursday night in Abilene.
Wamego 34, Abilene 33
Abilene (14-3) 13 6 5 9 – 33
Wamego (13-4} 12 8 6 8 – 34
Abilene: Barlow 3, Wilson 4, Hoekman 2, Kelly 7, Patrick 2, Harms 15.
Wamego: York 4, Alderson 4, Webb 2, Hemphill 2, Turner 6, Poe 10, Wethington 6.