Fort Calhoun boys basketball coach TJ O'Conner admitted his Pioneers' offense is in “a little bit of a funk.”
At the same time, the Yutan Chieftains knocked down eight 3-pointers Saturday afternoon. They earned the 50-48 win at FCHS where the Pioneers missed a last-second 3-pointer that could have won the game if it had found the bottom of the net.
“We had a pretty rough start,” Calhoun senior Brant Hilzendeger said, noting a 20-7, second-period deficit and missed foul shots. “We kind beat ourselves I feel like. A little bit, but they're a good team. It was a really competitive game.”
It certainly was for the first 7:50 before Yutan knocked down two 3-pointers to end the opening period. The Chieftains scored the first off of an offensive rebound before Isaiah Daniell stole the FCHS inbounds and beat the buzzer with the second.
The 16-7 Yutan lead jumped to 20-7 and settled in at 31-20 for the break at half. O'Conner's Pioneers answered, though, with their best 8 minutes during the third. A change from zone to man-to-man defense helped facilitate an 17-7 quarter that evened the score at 38.
“When we get things going, we play as a team,” Hilzendeger said. “When we start playing as a team, when we share the ball, we're just unstoppable. We have so many assets, so many weapons. We just play together.”
Carsen and Zane Schwarz scored eight points apiece during the third, while senior Harrison Schmitt had two. They combined for none during the fourth period, however, as the Chieftains led by as many as six.
Still, Fort Calhoun had a chance in the end. After Hilzendeger scored the first seven home team points, Michael Shirley knocked down a long-range shot with 23 seconds remaining, pulling the Pioneers within 50-48. That proved to be the final score after the home squad missed two foul shots and the aforementioned 3 to close the game.
The loss dropped FCHS to 4-7, while Yutan improved to 10-2. O'Conner said his team is close to winning games like Saturday's, but needs to keep attacking practice with improvement in mind.
Pioneers snap 3-game skid
Fort Calhoun trailed by two points midway through Thursday's game at Weeping Water, but outscored their opposition 37-20 during the second half to break a three-game losing skid.
Hilzendeger led the Pioneers with 19 points during the 62-47 win. Zane Schwarz scored 13 and Grayson Bouwman added 10 to push FCHS' record to 4-6 before Saturday's defeat.
Levi Meumeister led Weeping Water with 11 points. His team fell to 3-11 after leading 27-25 at halftime.