Boys win consolation championship
Published: Thursday, December 27th, 2012
The Custer High School boys basketball team played its way to ninth place at the Lakota Nation Invitational last week, winning three consecutive games after falling in their first round game Wednesday.
In the consolation championship game, the boys survived an early onslaught of three-point shooting by Flandreau Indian and overcame a halftime deficit to win 65-55.
It was another game where the Wildcats came out sluggish, falling behind by as much as 10 in the early going of the game before getting things going.
Custer head coach Larry Luitjens said the slow starts are a concern, but something he hasn’t been able to put his finger on yet.
“We did that against Spearfish, and we did it against St. Francis,”âï¿½ï¿½he said.âï¿½ï¿½“Iâï¿½ï¿½haven’t got it figured out. Iâï¿½ï¿½don’t have the answer yet.”
After falling behind 10, the Wildcats got back in the game with some hot shooting and good passing, starting with a Glazier three pointer that cut the lead to 16-9. That was followed by a Kenneth Myers three-pointer off an assist from Cody Martinz, and Martinz then stole the ball and dished it to Jared Thomsen for a basket.
Flandreau responded, however, as Griffin Cross buried a pair of three-pointers on consecutive possessions, and the Indians took a 33-29 lead into the break.
At the half, Luitjens decided to change defensive strategy, going to a triangle and two to Chase Flandreau’s shooters and not allow the three-point barrage to continue. The strategy worked, as Cross and Tanner Drapeau, who scored the bulk of Flandreau’s points in the first half, were held to single digits the rest of the game.
Thomsen and Myers drew the defensive assignments of chasing Cross and Drapeau.
“Jared held his guy to two points in the second half, and Kenny stepped up too,” Luitjens said.âï¿½ï¿½“We played well. We played better and ran the floor.”
Custer got its first lead at 37-35 after Glazier, who had 30 points in the game, drove and scored, which was followed by Glazier hitting a three-pointer off an assist from Thomsen, who had 10 points and six rebounds in the game. Glazier began to take over the game at that point, scoring consecutive baskets and dishing to Thomsen for an easy layup that made the score 51-44.
Flandreau made one final run and tied the score at 51-51 with 3:40 left in the game, but Custer responded with a pair of Myers baskets, including a three-pointer, to go up 62-53 with just under a minute left in the game. Myers scored 19 points in the game.
“Iâï¿½ï¿½think we got better during the tournament, and that doesn’t always happen,”âï¿½ï¿½Luitjens said.âï¿½ï¿½“You’re just playing and playing and playing. Defensively, we got better as well.”
Saturday’s win came with a heavy price, Martinz, Custer’s senior point guard, fell hard to the floor and broke his wrist. Although he finished the game he could no longer dribble or shoot, and Glazier eventually took over point guard duties. Luitjens said Martinz will be out for six weeks, a big blow to a team that already has depth concerns.
“We have to figure out what we’re going to do without him. We’re probably going to see some junk defenses on Chase,”âï¿½ï¿½Luitjens said. “We have to figure out who else can score. Right now, Iâï¿½ï¿½don’t have that answer.”
Friday the team played Crow Creek and came away with a 45-35 win. Glazier was the only Wildcat to score in double figures in the game, with 21 points on nine of 16 shooting. The Wildcats won despite shooting only 28 percent from the field and turning the ball over 17 times.
On Thursday, the boys picked up a convincing second round win over Omaha Nation, 69-40.
The Wildcats hit eight three pointers in the game, with Glazier scoring 21 points, Martinz scoring 20 and Graysen Trandem chipping in 10. The Wildcats stormed out to a 42-15 halftime lead and never looked back.
Things didn’t start as well for the boys in the tournament, as they were upset in their opening round game, losing to St. Francis 57-56. The Wildcats early season penchant for falling behind early bit them in the game, as they fell behind double digits before making a furious rally that fell just short.
Glazier led the team in scoring with 22 points, despite a rough shooting day. Martinz chipped in 13, while Myers added 10.
The team is now off until Jan. 3, when it will head to Hill City to take on the Rangers. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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