Bucklin comeback bid comes up short in 1A, Div. II

Bucklin comeback bid comes up short in 1A, Div. II
Bucklin comeback bid comes up short in 1A, Div. II(Mike Courson)
Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 11:24 PM CST
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GREAT BEND, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Top-ranked Hanover looked untouchable in Wednesday’s opening-round game of the Class 1A, Div. II State Championships at Barton Community College. The Wildcats were headed that direction again in Friday’s semifinal with a 21-8 first quarter against Bucklin. The Red Aces mounted a serious comeback bid late but came up short 61-54 to the reigning champs.

“They put it all on the floor,” said Bucklin coach Derek Bevan. “That’s been key for us this year. It’s their style of play. They love it and love to just fly around. The kids love to shoot threes and we encourage that.

“A huge thing in the second half was the heart they showed. There have been several times, even in my first year, when they get down 15 and just roll over. They worked really hard tonight to change that culture. That was a great example of how we have.”

The tide turned late in the third when Bucklin scored on back-to-back drives but Hanover answered with a 3-pointer from senior Philip Doebele. In the final 68 seconds of the third, Bucklin got threes from senior Scott Price and freshman Kolson Cook, and a jumper from sophomore Andrew Bowman to cut a 19-point deficit to just 43-33.

The Red Aces continued to battle into the fourth. Senior Nathan Bowman scored on a drive, then Price took a steal the distance. All of a sudden the Wildcat lead was just 44-39 with six minutes to play.

“We got them speed up, I felt like a little bit, and got going more our tempo,” said Bucklin coach Derek Bevan. “That helped us in the second half. It was a really good basketball game.”

Hanover found an answer each time the Red Aces threatened. With the lead back at nine, Price and Nathan Bowman sank threes for a 50-45 score with 4:37 remaining. Bucklin had one more chance late after a technical foul but missed all three free throw attempts.

Hanover dazzled in Wednesday’s round-one game against Central Plains. Friday the Wildcats opened scoring with a big jam from senior Emmitt Jueneman.

“We knew they like the showtime plays and that’s what they really play to get,” Bevan said. “When you can do them, why wouldn’t you? They got the dunk on the first play and we got the ball back in and went down and attacked.”

The 6-4 Doebele scored eight points and grabbed five boards in the opening quarter to help push the lead to 21-8. The Wildcats continued to control things through the second quarter with a 31-16 lead at the break.

Doebele finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds to lead all players. Jueneman added 16 points, Keagan Dimler scored 11 points, and Joshua Zarybnicky grabbed 10 points to go with seven points. Hanover takes a 24-1 record into Saturday’s championship game against No. 2 seed Greeley County (23-2).

Price and Andrew Bowman each finished with 18 points to lead Bucklin, and the pair split 13 rebounds. Cook added six points, and Nathan Bowman and Lucas Kirk each scored five points. Bucklin takes a 19-6 record into Saturday’s third-place game against No. 3 seed Northern Valley (22-3).

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