Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Tom Southard

Longhorns fall to Freeman at state tourney


Vicki Stull

Henry Heeg tries to stop the Freeman offense.

Kimball's season came to an end with a first round loss in the Nebraska State C-2 boy s' basketball tournament losing 49-46 to Freeman in a hard fought contest. It was a game that saw Kimball get out to a 16-12 lead at the end of the first period of play, all tied at 22-22 at half time, and Freeman on top by 1 point going into the fourth quarter with the score at 37-36 at the end of the third period. The Freeman Falcons eked out the 49-46 win outscoring Kimball 12-10 in the final period.

Kimball's senior main-stays, Mike Daum and Jake Reader, set the tone early as Reader opened the scoring with an old fashioned 3 point play going inside for the basket and making the foul shot after he was fouled. Mike Ferguson followed with a rebound bucket and Kimball jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Later, Daum nailed a pair of treys and a put-back basket and had 8 first period points, while Reader tallied 6 in the first quarter including a long running trey that beat the buzzer.

The second period saw the Horns get in a bit of foul problem as Reader picked up his 3rd and Daum and Jonathon Withrow both had two. Crucial turnovers amounting to 7 in the second period led to Freeman baskets allowing the Falcons to knot the game by intermission. More turnovers, with 8 charted in the third period alone, and many unforced, allowed Freeman to stay up with and actually take the lead in the third quarter. The second half began with a quick uncontested turnover but Reader scored 2 quick baskets on drives to put the Horns up 26-22, but despite the efforts of Daum and Reader, the passing errors kept them from putting the game away.

After scoring 13 first half points, Daum stayed strong and scored 15 more in the second half, including 8 in the final period to finish with a game high 28. Big Mike tied it at 42-42 on an inside move off an assist from Reader with 2:54 left. After a Freeman trey, the same play of Reader to Daum kept it at 1 point as Daum tallied again inside. Daum hit a pair of free throws with :18 seconds remaining to close to 47-46, but Freeman iced the game with a pair of free throws when Kimball was forced to foul late. Daum almost tied it on a long three point shot under pressure and Henry Heeg's rebound and long toss at the basket was also off target as time expired.

On the positive note, Kimball out rebounded the winners 26 to 11 with 15 offensive boards. The Horns shot fairly well going 13/33 on 2 point fielders for 39%, were 4/11 on treys for 36%, were 8/11 at the foul line for 73%, had 9 steals, 8 assists, and 5 blocked shots. The negatives were 15 fouls with Reader fouling out in the closing seconds and Daum ending up with 4. The deciding factor was the 20 turnovers!

Mike Daum played himself proud in his final high school game with his game high 28 points going 7/14 on 2 pointers, 3/7 on 3 pointers, and 5/6 at the foul line. He also pulled 13 rebounds, had 5 steals and 4 blocks. It would have been nice if the Horns could have gotten the win and advanced for two more games in the big show so Mike could have had a chance at another all tournament honor, but the big guy wasn't crying in his milk.

"It would have been nice to have picked up the win, but I am just happy for all of us that we got back to the state tournament," he said.

Reader also with a solid final game as he hit double figure scoring with 14 including the big trey right before half time. He had 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block and 3 assists and I might add, some very questionable foul calls, as did Mike.

The only other scoring for Kimball was 2 points each from Colton Stull and Michael Ferguson. Fergie also had 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 assist, while Stull had 3 assists and a steal. Freeman was led by Isaac Frerichs, a 6'1" junior guard with 26 points. The Falcons shot 14/30 on 2 point fielders, 4/11 on treys, and 9/12 at the line and had 11 fouls. Freeman fell to Ainsworth 69-56 in the semi finals and lost 59-44 to Doniphan Trumbell to finish fourth. Fremont Bergan won the C-2 Championship defeating Ainsworth 71-69 in overtime on Saturday.

Coach Bruce Tjosvold said "I'm proud of our kids. They had a heck of a year. It wasn't the best game we played all year but we kept our composure and the kids kept battling." With five seniors on he squad including Daum and Reader plus starter Henry Heeg, Tjosvold will have to fill a giant loss in talent, but his 8 year win-loss record of 152-39, including this year's season of 22-4 assures the program of more outstanding basketball. Congrats to the coaches and players on a great season and great effort at the state tourney.


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