Late run propels Spartans past ’Cats
Published: Thursday, December 20th, 2012
A 9-0 run in the final four minutes allowed the Spearfish Spartans to escape with a 53-45 win over the Custer High School boys basketball team last Friday night at the armory. The run came on the heels of a back-and-forth second half that saw the teams trade ties, leads and big baskets that had the large crowd in attendance hanging on every play.
After Chase Glazier hit a pair of free throws to put Custer on top 45-44 at the 4:00 mark of the fourth quarter, Spearfish’s Blaine Bacon drove through Custer’s defense, made the basket and was fouled. giving the Spartans the lead for good.
“We didn’t do anything right the last four minutes,” Custer head coach Larry Luitjens said. “We broke down defensively. We gave them two drives to the basket, had some bad, unforced turnovers and missed a couple of good shots.”
It looked like Custer might get blown out of its own gym at the outset of the game, as Spearfish’s pressure defense led to several turnovers for the Wildcats and completely took the ’Cats out of their offense.
“We hadn’t seen that (pressure defense) yet. We didn’t see it in our first game and we don’t see it in practice,”âï¿½ï¿½Luitjens said. “It’s a tough defense. It’s physical.”
Custer fell behind 15-4 after the first period, but battled back to within eight after Erik Hiltunen sank a pair of free throws midway through the second quarter. A Cody Martinz three-pointer at the end of the first half made the score 26-18 in favor of Spearfish. Luitjens said Martinz’s late score helped turn the tide of the game.
“It gave us a spark. Everybody said ‘We can do this,’” Luitjens said. “Iâï¿½ï¿½think they realized they hadn’t been playing well and could play better, and they did.”
Custer came out with guns blazing in the second half, starting with Martinz, who had a game high 19 points, driving in for a basket. That was followed with Logan Burns stealing the ball and laying it in to cut the score 26-22, followed by a Martinz three-pointer that cut the lead to one. Custer took its first lead of the game with 5:26 left in the third when Glazier buried a three-pointer. From there, neither team took more than a four-point lead until the final four minutes of the game.
Luitjens also cited Logan Burns and Hiltunen with helping turn the game around with their scrappy play.
“Logan played better than he has all year. He got his hand on a couple of balls, got a steal and got us going,” he said. “I was pleased with Hiltunen. He got some rebounds and made some big shots. I liked his intensity.”
This week the Wildcats will play at the annual Lakota Nation Invitational tournament in Rapid City and open play Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. against St. Francis. The Wildcats are the fourth seed. The game will be played in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center’s ice arena.
With four games in four days and little time to prepare against specific opponents, Luitjens said his team will focus more on what it needs to do to improve as a whole.
“We need to play better defense and move the ball better offensively,”âï¿½ï¿½Luitjens said. “We have to run, and we will get a chance to do it this weekend.”
Custer 4 14 17 10 —45
Spear 15 11 7 20 —53
Custer—Logan Burns 1-2 0-0 2, Erik Hiltunen 2-5 3-4 8, Cody Martinz 7-15 1-2 19, Kenneth Myers 0-2 4-4 4, Jared Thomsen 0-1 0-0 0, Chase Glazier 3-12 3-4 10, Israel Parsons 0-0 0-0 0, Graysen Trandem 0-1 0-0 0, Adam Baker 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 14-39 11-14 45.
Spearfish—Brand Kemp 5-17 1-3 15, Payne Davis 0-2 0-0 0, Ryan Olson 3-6 2-6 8, Ryan Couch 4-7 1-2 10, Mason Kaitfors 3-8 1-2 7, Blaine Bacon 3-3 1-1 7, Dillon Orth 3-5 0-0 6. Totals: 21-48 6-14 53.
Three-point goals:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 6 (Martinz 4, Glazier, Hiltunen), Spearfish 5 (Kemp 4, Couch). Rebounds:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 25 (Glazier 9), Spearfish 21 (Bacon 7). Steals:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 6 (Burns 3), Spearfish 12 (Kemp, Kaitfors 4). Assists:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 9 (Glazier 4), Spearfish 13 (Couch 6). Turnovers: Custer 17, Spearfish 11. Total fouls:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 13, Spearfish 19. Fouled out:âï¿½ï¿½Kaitfors.
Click Here To See More Stories Like This