With the Christmas season upon us, Buhler came into Abilene in the giving mood.
Buhler’s boys and girls combined for 46 turnovers in the two games which helped the Cowgirls earn a 53-52 victory and the Cowboys forced the Crusader boys into 18 turnovers to help them in a 71-42 victory to complete the non-conference sweep inside Abilene High School’s gymnasium.
Turnovers were the name of the game in the girls’ contest as Abilene and Buhler combined to turn the ball over 53 times, 25 by Abilene and 28 by Buhler. The game was ultimately decided due to Buhler’s 28th turnover. The two teams traded the lead twice in the game’s final minute.
The ultimate winning back was landed by Abilene’s Belle Barberi, who led all scorers in the game with 22 points, with 29 seconds remaining in the contest.
Buhler then took over possession of the ball and dwindled the remaining 29 seconds away setting up a possible game-winning shot.
But that shot never occurred as Buhler threw the ball away trying to set up that game-winning shot with 0:02.2 remaining. The Cowgirls ran off those two seconds to remain undefeated on the season at 7-0.
"We knew they were going to be a physical team with great post players," Abilene coach Janelle Geist said. "I think our girls came out and played tremendous defense on them. We knew they were going to play tough defense on us and we gave them too many turnovers. The third quarter was amazing. Fourth quarter we just kind of held on for dear life and scored a big one at the end. Then we just played 20 seconds of tough defense and got the ball back. I couldn’t be prouder of all of our girls."
Jessica Steffen scored 13 points for the Lady Crusaders while Josie Williams pitched in 10 for Buhler. Barberi was Abilene’s only player to score in double digits.
The boys’ game was much less dramatic.
In the boys’ game the Crusaders scored the game’s first points, a 3-pointer by Tyson Kuhn 40 seconds into the game but that proved to be Buhler’s only lead all night long.
Abilene answered Kuhn’s 3-pointer with a 6-2 run to take command of the contest.
The Cowboys led 17-10 after the first quarter, 35-24 at intermission, 52-36 after three quarters before outscoring Buhler 19-6 in the final period for the 29-point victory.
Abilene was led by Andy Wilson’s 23 points while Jacob Harms added 13 and Keil Kelly pitched in 10 points for Abilene. Bransyn Felty led Buhler with 11 points, including 3 3-pointers in the contest.
"I think we had some kids just come out and play hard again like they did on Tuesday against Chapman," said Abilene coach Terry Taylor, whose team enters the Christmas Break with a 5-1 record. "We are probably a little more athletic than Buhler is, a little longer, a little taller. We played pretty well offensively. Andy Wilson shot the ball extremely well.
"It was just a good win for our kids to go into Christmas Break. To finish on a positive note. It was a week ago that we lost at Concordia by one on a heartbreaker. We have had two good outings this week. We made progress. We are working hard and the kids need a break. … We are pleased with where we are at and I think we are improving and that is the key to our season is to just keep improving."