PREP BOYS' BASKETBALL: Wolverines edge Dragons 78-71ADRIAN — It was a tale of two halves Friday night for the Adrian and Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin boys’ basketball teams.
ADRIAN — It was a tale of two halves Friday night for the Adrian and Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin boys’ basketball teams.
The first half displayed a dominant Adrian squad and a 15-point deficit for ML/B-O.
But the second half showcased a strong Wolverine defense and a 15-point differential for scoring in favor of ML/B-O.
The Wolverines ended up winning the contest 78-71 after trailing by eight entering the half.
“It certainly was a tale of two halves,” ML/B-O coach Shawn Naas said. “We didn’t do much in the first half and they came out to play. We didn’t play very well for a long stretch there and they hit just about everything. It was a good effort and a nice comeback by us. That was outstanding to keep putting up points and things like that. It was a nice win.”
The game started off close, with Adrian down 11-10 with 13 minutes left to play in the first half.
But the Dragons went on a 20-4 run over the next six minutes to make the score 30-15. The run was led by 14 points from Kyle Kilgore.
However, the Wolverines didn’t back down and closed out the half on an 18-11 run to make the score 41-33 in favor of Adrian entering the break.
ML/B-O’s biggest issue in the first half was slowing down Kilgore, who finished the first frame with 22 points.
“We came out sluggish and flat,” ML/B-O forward Beau Herrig said. “With about five minutes left in the first half we really stepped it up and started playing better. Kyle Kilgore had a great game. He just tore us apart in the first half.
“I just don’t think we came out ready to play. I don’t know if we weren’t focused or what was the issue, but we came in just walking around. We didn’t have a purpose in what we were trying to do.”
But the Wolverines were able to quickly rebound from their first-half struggles.
Four minutes into the second half ML/B-O tied the game at 46-all on a Carter Kirk basket. And just two minutes later the Wolverines took their first lead since the 13 minute mark of the first half when a Kaleb Grev 3-pointer pushed ML/B-O ahead 52-50 with 12 minutes left in regulation.
From there, the Wolverines went on a 16-8 run over the next eight minutes to take a 10-point advantage (68-58) with four minutes left to play.
The Dragons weren’t able to recover after that and, although they were able to make some key 3-pointers down the stretch to keep a victory within grasp, their opponents were always able to counter with a quick bucket or a pair of free throws to keep the game in ML/B-O’s favor.
“We came out to play with energy and intensity and I’m proud of the kids for that,” Adrian head coach Dean Schniable said. “But then we were outhustled and outplayed and allowed Mountain Lake to make a comeback. We don’t have depth — we play five players the whole game — and you can tell that that hurts us. Fatigue starts to set in during the second half. But the kids didn’t quit, which would’ve been the case for some other squads, but these boys fought until the end.”
The Wolverines were led by Herrig’s double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds. Kyle Thiessen, Kirk and Andrew Hempbeck (10 assists) each added 14 points for ML/B-O.
The Dragons were led by Kilgore’s 28 points and nine rebounds. Brandon Weidert added 16 points, seven rebounds and three steals, while Nick Reyne had 11 points and Kody Henning had nine points and nine rebounds for Adrian.
The key to the second half for the Wolverines was shutting down Kilgore.
The 6-foot-7-inch forward racked up 22 points in the first half, but the Wolverines held him to only six in the second — a 3-pointer and three free-throws.
“In the first half, we didn’t take Kilgore away,” Naas said. “We let him do whatever he wanted to do. He’s a great player and you can’t let him do that because he’ll take advantage of you and run you into the ground.
“In the second half our key was limiting Kilgore’s touches. We did a nice job. We caused him to travel a few times by double-teaming him and just taking away the opportunities we gave him in the first half. It really made a difference.”
Another key to the game for ML/B-O was its accuracy from the free-throw line.
The Wolverines went 15-for-16 from the free-throw line in the game with 14 of those foul shots coming in the second half.
Herrig said the team isn’t usually strong from the line, but the Wolverines’ accuracy Friday helped them, especially when maintaining their lead in the final minutes of play.
“We shot great on free-throws, that was huge,” Herrig said. “We’re typically not a good free-throw shooting team, so that really helped us a lot tonight. They just gave us that edge toward the end of the game and kept us one step ahead of Adrian.”
Each team has only one regular season game left to play this year.
Adrian (10-13, 8-8) will take on Ellsworth on Monday, while ML/B-O (19-5, 12-4) will play Murray County Central Monday.
The Wolverines hope to extend their five-game win streak (dating back to Feb. 10) and finish the regular season on a high note before starting tournament play.
“We just have to come out with a lot more fire than we did tonight,” Herrig said. “We can’t come out that flat around playoff time because mistakes decide who’s going home and who’s going on to the next level.”
ML/B-O 33 45 — 78
Adrian 41 30 — 71
ML/B-O (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Herrig 0-7-9-23, Kirk 0-6-2-14, Thiessen 2-3-2-14, Grev 2-1-0-8, Penner 0-3-0-6, Hempeck 1-3-2-14, Donkhong 0-1-0-2. Total 5-24-15-78.
Adrian (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Kilgore 1-10-5-28, Recker 1-2-0-7, Reyne 3-1-0-11, Weidert 2-5-0-16, Henning 1-3-0-9. Total 8-21-5-71.
Daily Globe Sports Reporter Jocelyn Syrstad can be reached at 376-7335.