Bison upset Wildcats in district play
Published: Thursday, February 28th, 2013
With 10 seconds to play and Custer clinging to a one-point lead, Hot Springs point guard Chad Janis drove down the court, penetrated the Custer defense and dished to a wide-open Hunter Pulscher under the basket for a layup and a 63-62 lead. It was a play the Bison ran ad nauseum throughout the course of the night.
It was also a play Custer had no answer for throughout the course of the night.
Pulscher’s layup proved to be the winning points, as Cody Martinz’s last-second three-pointer hit off the back iron in Hot Springs’ upset of the Wildcats Monday night at the Armory in the opening round of District 15A play.
Having lost to Custer twice this season—including by 21 in Hot Springs—the Bison strategy this time around was obvious; get the ball inside.
“We didn’t play good defense,” Custer head coach Larry Luitjens said.âï¿½ï¿½“Poor defense was our biggest problem all year long. It got us big time (against Hot Springs). You have to really give credit to Janis. I thought he had an outstanding game, and the Pulscher kid was the beneficiary of his penetration.”
Hot Springs came out with hot shooting in the first quarter and quickly put the Wildcats on their heels. The ’Cats didn’t take their first lead of the game until Chase Glazier buried a fall-away jumper from 10 feet to give the Wildcats a 30-29 lead in the third quarter.
Hot Springs led by as much as 10 in the game, but Custer seemed to turn the tide with 1:35 left in the first half when Cody Martinz hit a three-pointer and was fouled. The subsequent free throw cut a big Hot Springs lead to 29-25.
Much of Hot Springs’ lead was built on the back of transition baskets and free throws, as the Bison routinely beat the Custer press for an easy basket—so much so Custer was forced to abandon the press for much of the game.
“They didn’t handle our press when we played them a month ago,”âï¿½ï¿½Luitjens said.âï¿½ï¿½“I struggled so much with our defense this year. We just did not play together. The unity wasn’t there. You can be working really hard, but if someone else is not, the defense looks terrible.”
Shortly after Martinz’s four-point play, Hot Springs built another big lead on the back of Pulscher, who scored inside and later made two free throws to give Hot Springs a 10 point lead. Custer again answered, and by the time Kenneth Myers nailed a three-pointer from the corner, the Wildcats had once again trimmed the lead to four.
In the fourth quarter it was again the defense that let Custer down, as the team seemingly could not get a stop when it needed to, eventually leading to Pulscher’s game-winning basket. He had 19 points in the game.
“We couldn’t keep Janis in front of us. Your post man can’t help by stepping up and leaving someone wide open,”âï¿½ï¿½Luitjens said.âï¿½ï¿½“It was very frustrating. I’ve gone over it 10,000 times—and not just last night.
“It didn’t make any difference what defense we were in. We didn’t play well together.”
Martinz scored 20 points in his final game as a Wildcat. Glazier added 15 and Myers 14. Erik Hiltunen, also in his final game, grabbed seven rebounds.
Last Friday night the team traveled to Spearfish, where it lost for the second time this season to the Spartans, this time 57-43.
The second quarter proved to be pivotal in the game, as the Wildcats were outscored 17-7, including a 10-0 Spartan run that propelled the Spartans to a 27-17 halftime lead. Eight of the points came off Wildcat turnovers.
The Wildcats actually led briefly in the second quarter, 15-12, after a Jared Thomsen layup. Spearfish then went on to score 15 of the next 17 points. The Wildcats cut the lead to five points in the third quarter, but Spearfish went on another run to extend the lead back to 11.
Custer made one last push in the fourth and cut the lead to single digits once again after a Martinz layup, but the Spartans scored the next five points to push the lead back to 13.
Martinz was the team’s leading scorer with 17 points, despite making only one of his 11 three-point attempts. Glazier added 16 points.
On Feb. 19, the Wildcats closed out their regular season home schedule with a 75-28 pasting of the visiting Hill City Rangers.
Martinz was the ’Cats’ leading scorer in the game with 24 points, including five three-pointers. Glazier added 22 points. The Wildcat defense forced 21 Ranger turnovers while holding them to 27 percent shooting and not allowing a single Ranger to score in double figures. The Wildcats also went 21 of 24 from the free throw line in the game.
The Wildcats finish a topsy-turvy season with an 11-10 record and a coach scratching his head as to why his team could never really put things together.
“It just never happened. You have to have chemistry,”âï¿½ï¿½he said.âï¿½ï¿½“We just did not have the team synergy you need to be a good team.”
Now the team turns its attention to next season, a season in which Luitjens feels the team will have the potential to be “really good” if the players dedicate themselves between now and then.
Glazier, a player Luitjens said has “the potential to be the best player on the floor every game” next year will return, as will Myers.
Like this season, however, additional scorers have to be found, as well as a defensive presence in the post. That presence may come from Adam Baker, the 6-6 sophomore with a seven-foot wing span who saw quality varsity minutes this year.
“If he gets strong, he will be something we haven’t had since Tyler Custis,”âï¿½ï¿½Luitjens said.
Luitjens said freshmen Graysen Trandem and Patrick Witt, sophomore Joel Thomsen and junior Logan Burns are other players who have the potential to be valuable contributors next season if they continue to practice and get in the weight room.
Just who will coach the team next year is uncertain, however. Luitjens said he has not decided if he will return next year, saying he felt there were times this year his health affected his coaching. He plans to take some time to contemplate his future.
“I don’t know. It will be a while (before I decide),”âï¿½ï¿½he said. “Every time I lose the last game, I’m done. I’m not coaching.
“If I go some place south like Mexico and it’s the best Iâï¿½ï¿½have felt in five years,”âï¿½ï¿½he said with a laugh,’ “I’m done.”
Custer 11 15 15 21 —62
HS 15 14 16 18 —63
Custer—Erik Hiltunen 3 1-2 7, Cody Martinz 6 5-5 20, Kenneth Myers 4 5-8 14, Jared Thomsen 1 1-2 3, Chase Glazier 7 0-0 15, Adam Baker 1 1-2 3. Totals: 22 13-19 62.
Hot Springs—Chad Janis 3 2-2 10, Austin Benford 3 4-5 10, TJ Beougher 3 6-8 12, Cole Berkely 3 0-0 8, Hunter Pulscher 8 3-5 19, Jacob Terrell 2 0-0 4. Totals: 22 15-20 63.
Three-point goals: Custer 5 (Martinz 3, Myers, Glazier), HS 4 (Janis 2, Berkely 2). FG percentages: Rebounding:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 23 (Hiltunen 7), HSâï¿½ï¿½27 (Pulscher 9). Turnovers:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 9, HSâï¿½ï¿½13. Total fouls:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 14, HSâï¿½ï¿½19. Fouled out: Beougher.
Custer—Erikâï¿½ï¿½Hiltunen 0-1 0-0 0, Cody Martinz 6-17 4-4 17, Kenneth Myers 1-5 1-2 4, Jared Thomsen 1-1 0-0 2, Chase Glazier 6-18 2-2 16, David Hernandez 0-1 0-0 0, Joel Thomsen 0-0 0-0 0, Adam Baker 2-2 0-0 4. Totals: 16-45 7-8 43.
Spearfish—Brandon Kemp 5-7 1-1 12, Payne Davis 0-3 0-0 0, Ryan Olson 1-4 1-2 1-2 3, Ryan Couch 3-4 2-2 8, Zack Olson 5-7 0-0 10, Mason Kaitfors 1-3 0-0 2, Blaine Bacon 6-9 1-2 13, Dillon Orth 3-11 1-2 9. Totals: 24-48 6-9 57.
Three-point goals: Custer 4 (Glazier 2, Martinz, Myers). Spearfish: 3 (Orth 2, Kemp). Rebounding:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 20 (Myers 6), Spearfish 21 (Couch 6). Turnovers: Custer 7, Spearfish 5. Total fouls:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 15, Spearfish 13. Fouled out: Hiltunen.
Custer 16 27 22 10 —75
HC 8 11 4 5 —28
Custer—Patrick Witt 1-2 0-0 2, Logan Burns 2-5 0-0 5, Erikâï¿½ï¿½Hiltunen 2-5 2-2 6, Cody Martinz 5-15 9-10 24, Kenneth Myers 2-7 2-2 8, Jared Thomsen 0-2 0-2 0, Chase Glazier 6-14 6-6 22, Israel Parsons 1-2 0-0 2, David Hernandez 0-1 0-0 0, Graysen Trandem 0-2 0-0 0, Joel Thomsen 1-2 0-0 2, Adam Baker 1-3 2-2 4. Totals: 21-60 21-24 75.
Hill City—Brady Groves 1-6 0-0 2, Dylan Thomas 1-4 0-0 2, Pedro Villalobos 2-5 0-0 4, Gage Skillingstad 3-10 0-0 7, Ryan Skillingstad 0-1 0-0 0, Jake Larson 0-2 1-2 1, Stetson Ortiz 3-8 0-0 6, Cody Scott 0-1 0-0 0, Zack Siemonsma 1-5 0-0 2, Kenner Langenbau 2-2 0-0 4, Caleb Yeargen 0-4 0-0 0. Totals: 13-48 1-2 28.
Three-point goals: Custer 12 (Martinz 5, Glazier 4, Myers 2, Burns), HCâï¿½ï¿½1 (G. Skillingstad). Rebounding: Custer 29 (Myers 5), HC 27 (G. Skillingstad 7). Turnovers: Custer 10, HCâï¿½ï¿½21. Total fouls:âï¿½ï¿½Custer 9, HCâï¿½ï¿½18. Fouled out: none. Technicals:âï¿½ï¿½Ortiz.
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