MARYSVILLE – The Abilene Cowboys returned to the top of the North Central Kansas League with an avenging win over the Marysville Bulldogs Friday night on the road. The Cowboys avenged a 10-point loss at home with a huge 15-point win, 66-51, at Marysville.
Unlike the first meeting, the Cowboys came out strong and aggressive against the Bulldogs to take a 20-10 lead after the first quarter. Senior Travis Beetch had the hot hand as he scored 12 of the Cowboys 20 points in the opening period. Beetch scored the first points of the game with a layup off the opening tip. Avery Bryson, Kaleb Becker and Josh Stuber had points for Abilene to go along with Beetch’s five drives to the basket. Beetch finished the period with four scoring plays including his lone three of the night at the buzzer.
The Cowboys shot over 64 percent in the game Friday night and were five of six from three-point range.
“Really proud of our kids,” Abilene head coach terry Taylor said. “This was a great team effort. The starters all played very well and when you play a zone defense it is a team effort. Our backs were to the wall tonight and the kids knew it. Last night was not our best practice of the year and I left and went home and thought this might be an ugly day today. But things went very well for us.”
The biggest factor in the contest was the Cowboys stifling defense. Playing a shut down zone in the first half, Abilene limited the Bulldogs to rely on outside shooting. Abilene held Marysville to one shot per possession as the Cowboys clamped down on the defensive boards. The Cowboys finished the game with nine more defensive rebounds than the Bulldogs had total rebounds for the game.
Bryson finished with nine boards to lead the Cowboys with Heintz having seven and Beetch and Becker grabbing five each.
“We rebounded well tonight,” Taylor said. “We kept them to one shot most possessions and that was our goal to try and limit them to one shot a possession and make them shoot a lot of threes with no rebounders. They are a good shooting team. They have three guys that are shooting 40 percent or better.”
Abilene took a 30-22 lead to the locker room at halftime and kept the foot on the gas by outscoring the Bulldogs 36-29 in the second half.
“We had four solid quarters,” Taylor said. “Our zone was effective. We didn’t want to give up layups. Last time we played a man and they kept driving by us and kicking out to shoot open threes. This time we wanted to stand out there and be a little closer to the three-point shooters. At half time they were only five of 15 for 33 percent and we were up by eight.”
The Bulldogs settled on shooting threes in the game shooting nine of 31 for less than 30 percent.
Bryson pounded in 10 fourth-quarter points for the Cowboys to finish the game with 18. Beetch led all scorers with 21. Grant Heintz added nine points while Becker finished with eight and junior guard Blaise McVan came off the bench for six points.
McVan’s second three of the game gave the Cowboys a brief 22-point lead at 66-44 in the closing minute. Marysville’s Jackson Rader pumped in his fifth trey of the game followed by Gavin Pieschl and Ben Kirkland buckets to close out the game.
Rader led the Bulldogs with 17 points while senior Dalton Denner hit 12 and Pieschl had 10.
“This was really a big win for us,” Taylor said. “Our kids really fought hard and that’s all you can ask for.”
The Cowboys improved to 9-5 and 6-1 in league play while Marysville goes to 11-3 and 4-2 in the conference. Abilene has three remaining conference games at Clay Center with Wamego and Chapman playing at home. Tuesday the Cowboys travel to Council Grove for a non-conference game. The Braves are 9-6 after beating Clay Center 52-40 on Friday.
Contact Ron Preston at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abilene 66, Marysville 51
Abilene 20 10 11 25 – 66
Marysville 10 12 5 24 – 51
Abilene (9-5) – Coup 2, Stuber 2, McVan 6, Bryson 18, Beetch 21, Becker 8, Heintz 9. Totals: 22 (5) 7-9 66.
Marysville (11-3) – Pieschl 10, Rader 17, Kirkland 4, Nietfield 1, Denner 12, Schroeder 2, M. Holle 5. Totals: 8 (9) 8-14 51.