In a game that was nip and tuck the entire way, it was only fitting that Friday’s game between the Seneca and Diamond boys came down to a buzzer-beater.
With the Indians leading 60-58, a pair of missed free throws with six seconds left would come back to bite Seneca in a big way. Following the misses, the Wildcats pulled in the rebound and quickly called timeout. With an inbounds pass coming near midcourt with 5.5 seconds to play, the Wildcats set a screen and senior Brodie Bien came open on the play, took the pass and drained an open 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Wildcats home with a 61-60 victory.
“Clutch shot,” Wildcats coach Brandon Rabel said. “The thing is, we had lots of guys step up and make big shots. Michael Bray had been out sick for two days and hadn’t practiced, and I put him in and he steps up and makes a big shot. We had several guys make plays.”
Seneca coach Will King echoed that statement.
“I give coach Rabel and Diamond a lot of credit,” King said. “I think they played well and hit some big shots.”
The 3-pointer was the fourth of the game for Bien, and he led the team with 20 points. It also followed an uncharacteristic stretch in which the Indians missed a handful of free throws late in the fourth quarter that would have otherwise sealed it.
“We missed several free throws late,” King said. “It’s tough, but it was a close game the whole game and Diamond did a good job. I’m disappointed defensively, we’ve got to do a better job getting stops, but it’s something we’ll work on.”
Diamond freshman Triston Shepherd also had a big game with 17 points, while Darren Russow added 10, Cort Hardy seven, Michael Bray four and Carter Prewitt three.
Tyrell Hembree led the Indians with 21 points, while Seth Harris added 14, Chance Smith and Bradley Jumper eight, Elias Roelfsema seven and Isaac Gayer two.
Rabel said he hopes this win was the lift his Wildcats need as they approach the midway point of the season.
“They’re an excellent ballclub,” Rabel said of the Indians. “They’re a good team, well coached, good players. An experienced team. A win like that really boosts our confidence.”
The Indians also fell on the road at Galena, Kan., on Thursday, 66-56.
A slow start doomed the Indians in that game. After finding themselves in foul trouble early in the first half, the Indinas had to compensate for it and quickly found themselves in a rut. Try as they did to fight back, the Indians would never come within four points in the second half.
Page 2 of 2 - Roelfsema led the Indians with 16 points, while Jumper netted 12, Smith 11, Harris nine, Hembree seven and Gayer one.
Devin Newman led the Bulldogs with 23 points, while J.C. Pogsley netted 18, Logan Johnson 11, Kyler Cook 10, Gabe Helton five and Kyle Wilkins one.
The Indians (6-5) travel to Purdy at 5 p.m. Thursday. Diamond (5-5) entertains Purdy at 6 p.m. Monday.
Seneca defeated Diamond in the B game, 43-31. Zack Dunnam led the Indians with 13 points. Kyle Hayes paced Diamond with 11.