Horns Basketball Up For The Challenge
February 16, 2023
Hemingford – Friday’s game in Hemingford was one of those games that in a way you want to just forget about and move on from but we all know you can learn some of your greatest lessons from your most difficult defeats. It was the first game without leading scorer Brandon Paxton on the floor and we started the game as though we were lost without his services. Too many errors early on put us in a deficit we would struggle to overcome all game long. That, along with struggles making shots and Braxton Miller’s foul troubles early on made for an uphill battle all night. I also will hold myself accountable as I feel that I personally did not have the best performance as their coach by getting them focused at the task hand and leading them in a way that they would feel more knowledgeable of just when and where to attack their defense.
Give our players credit though as they battled hard to bring us back from a 20 plus deficit to within 11 in the third and then again to within 10 early in the fourth. We eventually lost by 23 but it was in no way because of a lack of effort on our players’ part. We went into a full court man to man press with our smaller line up in the second half and were able to gain spurts of momentum by getting them to turn the ball over, but eventually we once again would just make too many mistakes in our backcourt to overcome.
Highlights included Ryker Behrend’s 16 points on 6/10 shooting and 4/6 from the charity stripe while adding 3 assists and 5 rebounds. Kyler Lusche’s Double-Double of 16 points and 14 rebounds while adding 6 steals, 5 assists, and 3 blocks. Bransyn Kiefer’s 10 points and 62.5% eFG% while adding 4 assists, 3 steals, and taking our only charge on the night. Wyatt Cords added 6 points and 5 rebounds while Trevor Fuss added an additional 5 points. Braxton Miller rounded out the scoring with 2 points and added 4 assists.
Minatare – Wow, what a difference one day makes. This record setting performance was just what we needed to get back on track and get that sour taste out of our mouths from the night before. The players came together to put pressure on our opponents from the jump and never looked back. Out the gate we scored 35 in the first quarter and Kyler Lusche had 21 of those 35. From then on it just seemed as if our players knew that it was going to be Kyler’s night, wanting to give him the ball at almost every opportunity while our bench players almost turned into his personal stat keepers. By halftime Kyler had 31 and his teammates were bound determined to get him over the 41 point “single game record” held by Mike Daum, in which he accomplished twice back in the 2013-2014 season. Well, Kyler and his teammates did not have to wait long into the second half as Kyler hit his 42 point with an assist from Braxton Miller at the logo area just under the free throw line with 5:25 remaining on the clock in the 3rd quarter. Not only did Kyler set the new boys scoring record for “points in one game” by a Longhorn with 42 but he also set a new record for most “Field Goals in One Game” with 19 due to the fact that he did not shoot any free throws. The old record was set back in the 1997-1998 season by Mike Plate with 17.
Not only did Kyler have a record setting performance on the points side of things but Braxton Miller also had a great night as far as assists go, dishing out 11 and placing him tied for 3rd all-time for “assists in a game” and moving him into 4th all time for “assists in a season.” Braxton also hit 5 three pointers in the game which is tied for 4th all-time for “3 pointers made in a single game.”
Other highlights include a team high on the season with 85 points, hitting 7/11 from beyond the arc in the 1st quarter alone and ending with a season high 13 made 3 pointers in a single game, everyone receiving a Hudl VPS rating of 1.00 with Kyler, Braxton, and Ryker Behrend all receiving over 2.00, the team getting a season low of only having 6 turnovers, and receiving the highest team VPS rating on the season with 3.11 for the 1st quarter and 1.86 for the game. Another individual highlight of the game was watching Landon Norberg go off in the late 3rd through the 4th quarter. Landon is such a great teammate and asset to have as a coach. He is always giving his teammates encouragement, high energy, and being the first off the bench to congratulate everyone so it was refreshing to see his teammates cheering him on as he went on a tear. Always giving it his all it was great to see him have success shooting the ball with 87.5% eFG% going 2/2 from the line and shooting 1/1 from 3 point range. Landon ended with 9 with just about 1 quarter of running clock play.
Individual highlights – Kyler Lusche ended with another Double-Double with 42 points and 13 rebounds while adding 2 assists, 5 steals, and 1 block. Braxton Miller finally got his first Double-Double of the season hitting 5 three point shots and adding 15 points and 11 assists with no turnovers. Landon Norberg hit for 9 points and pulled 2 offensive boards. Bransyn Kiefer added 8 points while hitting 2 from behind the arc and adding 4 assists and 2 steals. Ryker Behrend had 4 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals, and took our only charge of the game. Wyatt Cords added a 3 pointer while also contributing 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Trevor Fuss scored 2 points and added 5 assists, 2 steals, and 3 rebounds. Draco Miller 2 points while Nolan Cook and Braylon Miller each had an assist as well.
With two very different performances these past couple days it might be confusing as to just where we are at heading into the week before sub-districts. I am just chalking up our Friday game as one of those anomalies that we will not look past but feel motivated and encouraged that we responded as well the day after and have been playing well here as of late. Our run in the WTC tournament has us confident that we can keep playing well going to sub-districts and really expect to make some noise. Hopefully we will be back to full strength by this Friday versus Mitchell and have our teammate Brandon back going into the subdistricts, however, these past few days have helped some of our other players step up in his absence and we’ll be up for the challenge whatever presents itself. This is a team that has been through some adverse situations and we continue to grow and get stronger through each of those experiences.