Spartans end Hillcrest boys season 39-35 [UPDATED]Published 3:12pm Saturday, March 9, 2013 Updated 11:11am Monday, March 11, 2013
A bit of a travel delay, we pick up the Hillcrest Comet boys versus the Ulen-Hitterdal Spartans game with a 8-5 Spartan lead. The two teams are pretty evenly matched so far, as they are still getting a feel for each other early in the half.
Celvati Nyabingi sneaks past the Spartan defense for an easy two. Ulen-Hitterdal responds with a bucket of their own going back up three. Nyabingi hits a three to knot the game up at 10 a piece. Nyabingi has eight of the Comets first 10 points.
Ulen has so far shutdown HLA’s historic scoring threat in Daniel Nersten. Nersten recently claimed the Comets all-time scoring title. Tostenson hits a deep two off an assist by Nersten to give the Comets their second lead of the game.
Nersten is finally on the board with his first two pointer, cleaning up a shot on the glass.
The Comets are currently holding an 18-12 lead after a missed Spartan opportunity. The Comets follow with another bucket by Nersten.
With two minutes left in the first half, Hillcrest has been able to find their groove in the game. Timeout by Comet Head Coach Gregg Preston.
In other sports news, due to weather related issues, the Fergus Falls boys versus the Alexandria Cardinals basketball game today has been postponed until Monday evening. The Daily Journal’s coverage of that event and the Pelican Rapids vs. Perham boys game have been cancelled for this evening.
Back to the action.
The Comets get a nice bucket off a Nyabingi pass by Sam Martens. The Spartans miss an opportunity and the Comets will have the ball for the final play of the half. Bucket doesn’t fall as we go into the half 22-14 Comets.
HALF TIME STATS: HLA: Nyabingi 8, Nersten, Martens, and Dalton Tostenson each have 4.
Ulen-Hitterdal: Landon Schultz 7, Neil Henrickson 5
Second half has begun.
A little back and forth action to begin the half. Tostenson has an amazing block, but the Comets are unable to convert. On the ensuing rebound, the Spartans overthrow the ball and turn it over the HLA.
The Comets slow their pace, until Ulen pressures the ball and HLA’s Tostenson benefits with a short jumper.
Defensively, the Spartans look to stop Nersten at all costs as they allow the Comets other starts to make something happen.
Spartans break a scoreless drought with a deep shot by Henrickson for three. Aaron Ellefson stuffs Nersten on the Comets next possession, but once again the Spartans can not convert. Coach Preston calls another timeout as the game has 14 minutes remaining.
The Comets head to the line for the first time after Nyabinigi is fouled. Nyabingi makes one of two, but the Spartans’ Schultz is able to respond to cut the lead to six.
Hillcrest is really working their offense on their next possession down the court. Tostenson looks for a lay up but Ellefson blocks the shot. The Spartans are being careless with the ball as they turn it over again. The Comets get pinched underneath the rim and turned the ball back over to the Spartans.
The lead is cut to three as Schultz hits a trey. Nersten is called for a charge on the Comets trip down and Preston calls his troops in for a conference.
The momentum has shifted towards Ulen, but the Comets still hold a slim lead. Schultz slips through from the corner for a quick lay up. Comets lead is cut to one.
Nyabingi penetrates the defense and responds with a lay up of his own. Martens is tagged with a foul under the bucket, sending the Spartans Cole Peterson to the line. Peterson converts on the second as the score is 27-25 at the 9 minute mark.
Ellefson does not have a point in the game, but his defensive intensity saw him get his third block. Peterson would get fouled again the next time down and convert on both shots. Comets’ Trevor Leach misses a fast lay up and the Spartans take the lead off a Schultz trey.
The Ulen crowd is getting increasingly loud as the Comets wind is taken out of their sails. The teams trade missed shots as Leach is fouled after the board. Leach is blocked under the rim, but the ball is the Comets’ and Martens converts after an inbound pass.
Ellefson picked up his fourth block as he batted away a Tostenson shot on the next possession. Ellefson would get called for a foul on Nersten on the inbound pass. After the the Comets inbound, the ball is thrown away. Hillcrest looks out of sync as the Spartan defense tightens up.
Nyabingi splits the D, but misses a lay up in traffic. Nersten pulls down the board but gets called for three seconds in the lane. Henrickson cuts passed the Comet D for a lay up.
Hillcrest next possession sees Evan Newman hit a and one shot. Newman does not convert the free throw, but the Comets offense is finding their stride. After a missed Spartan shot. Martens is able to push his way underneath for another and one chance. He does not convert but the momentum has shifted to the Comets as they hold a 33-32 lead as the Spartans Head Coach Brett Maass calls a timeout.
Ulen is able to push the ball down to Ellefson and he is fouled, sending him to the charity stripe for two. Ellefson hits one of two for his first point of the game. Comets using this time to setup for a good shot.
The Spartans are back on top after a two point bucket and are threatening again. Coach Maass calls a timeout with 1:39 left to play in the game.
Spartans forcing the Comets to pressure them to the basket. The Comets Nyabingi fouls, his second of the game. Ulen is still not in bonus.Coach Maass is forced to call another time out as his guard is hassled by Nersten.
Fans are on their feet as we near the final seconds of regulation. Nyabingi picks up another foul as it sends Henrickson to the line for a one and one. He misses the shot, but the Spartans get the rebound. Tostenson fouls Peterson with 36 seconds to play for another one and one attempt. The Comets trail 35-33.
Peterson converts the first and will get a chance at the second. He makes the second putting the Comets down 5. Nersten pulls up for a three but the all clanks off the rim and he is forced to foul.
Peterson fouls Leach and sends him to the line for a one and one. Leach does not feel the pressure as he drains both shots to cut the lead to two with 18 seconds left in the game.
The Comets miss a chance to foul and Peterson is left wide open for an easy lay up. The Comets can not convert a three pointer as the clock runs out. Ulen wins 39-35.
FINAL STATS: HLA: Nyabingi 13 points, Martens 8
ULEN: Schultz 15, Henrickson 14