Boys basketball falls to Blue Valley 61-47 on senior night

Regular season ends with 9-12 record and team will compete against Washington at home

Nora Lucas, JagWire editor-in-chief

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The boys basketball team fell 61-47 in its last regular season game against the Blue Valley Tigers on Friday, Feb. 23 at home.

It was senior recognition night, so all five starters were seniors, allowing senior Ben Weigel to score the first two points of the game, followed by two-pointers by seniors Colton Hinkle and Ike Valencia. The first quarter was fast-paced and did not slow down, despite fouls on seniors Kyle Bonstetter and Cooper Kaifes. Valencia, the highest scorer for the quarter, got six points, putting the score to a close 14-13 BV by the end.

Within two minutes of the second quarter, the Jaguars took the lead for the first time after twos from freshman Keeshawn Mason and senior Sammy Rebeck. For a while, BV suffered from a dry spell, giving the Jaguars enough time to lead 23-16. Still, the game became closer after multiple three-pointers from BV despite senior Brody Flaming’s two successful free throws. The Tigers managed to lead at halftime 26-25 after a buzzer-beating two points.

After a performance by the Silver Stars and Silver Studs, the back-and-forth game continued. The Tigers initially scored two points, but the Jaguars reciprocated with a 2-pointer by Valencia. The rest of the third quarter was spent alternating the lead between the two teams, and was held close by baskets from Valencia and Kaifes. Fouls from Weigel and Flaming paused the Jaguar scoring, and the quarter ended 43-37 BV.

The fourth quarter began the Jaguars’ decline. BV continued to score, with a minor interruption by Kaifes’ two free throws and a successful shot by Mason. Sweat running down his face, Kaifes returned to the free throw line two more times before the end of the game, but his scoring was not enough to overcome BV’s 58-45 lead. After one last two-pointer by Kaifes and five earned points by the Tigers, stalling the last 15 seconds ended the game 61-47.

Valencia says the team felt adequately prepared going into the game.

“With all the snow days, it kind of threw our practice schedule out of whack,” Valencia said. “But we had a good day at practice [Thursday]; we just didn’t really execute.”

Coach Alex Houlton said practice leading up to the game “just focused on trying to clean up some of the offensive sets,” but they also worked on “playing better team defense and doing a better job rebounding.”

While they didn’t win, Valencia acknowledges the team had some strength against BV.

“We drove the ball really well, created gaps and got a lot of open layups,” Valencia said.

Houlton said the team’s mistakes in the game were varying levels of energy and allowing the Tigers to have “second chance points.” Going into the playoffs, Houlton remarks on the team’s improvement, but still recognizes where its weaknesses lie.

“Consistency at practice has gotten better but that growth needs to continue through the last few weeks to make sure we are ready for the challenges ahead,” Houlton said.

The Jaguars will play Washington High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at home for the first playoff game.

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