As Elbert coach Mac McGuire put it, “Our game with Custer County was a tale of two halves.”
And, indeed the game, played last Friday, was.
The first three quarters in the game were disaster for Elbert. The Bulldogs trailed 36-14 at the half and 50-28 heading into the final quarter. But it turned out to be a better finish as the Bulldogs outscored Custer County 26-9 in the fourth quarter to fall by a final 59-54 score.
Elbert dropped to 2-4 on the season and traveled to face Colorado Springs School Jan. 11. The only victories for the Bulldogs to date have been 47-34 over Front Range Christian and 64-48 against Pikes Peak Christian.
“I guess we had a holiday hangover and we came out not ready to play. It took us a half to wake up,” McGuire said. “At the half I told the boys, you can’t be proud of this, just come out and pour your hearts out. A couple more minutes and I think we could have won it.
“And they certainly played much better in that second half,” McGuire said. “We stepped it up. They were thinking, we can do this. The second half was something else for the kids as we got the clogs out of our system.”
Roger Carlson and Bryce Hutchens led Elbert with 11 and 10 points respectively and were the only players to score in double-figures against Custer County. Chance Hendrix tacked on nine more. And, it was a game in which Carlson only played in the second half.
The reason? Carlson had a technical foul called on him for unsportsmanlike conduct in Elbert’s game with Vanguard Christian, a 49-48 loss, before the holiday break. The team rule, sit out a half in the next game.
“It was hard, but once he got in Roger helped spark our comeback,” McGuire said. “He guarded their best player and that helped give us a boost.”
Overall, Elbert has had the scoring spread out in nearly equal fashion as the Bulldogs head into the new year. Unfortunately, they have no players who average in double figures. Hutchens and Blake Nicholas lead the way scoring 8.4 points a game, Adam Averett and Hendrix are at 6.8 points a game and Nolan Brogger scores 6.2 a night.
Custer County was led by Brian O’Connor, who scored 24 points, and Thomas Mullet, who tallied 23. The pair have also been the big guns through the season for the Bobcats, 5-2. O’Connor is averaging 20.1 points a game, Mullet, 16.1.
Elbert’s lone senior girl, Logan Franek, scored 26 points, but the Bulldogs still couldn’t overcome Custer County as they dropped to 2-4 on the season after losing 51-43.
Elbert’s two wins this season have both come against Pikes Peak Christian, winning the first time, 38-25, the second, 64-29.
Injuries are playing a key role for Elbert and coach Rebecca Tomlin with Reilly Franek setting the game out with a back injury and Kaylee Harris hobbled with a knee injury.
“The injuries are setting us back,” Tomlin said. “Kaylee did play the entire game and I admire her determination. But we only have 10 girls now and they all played both the junior varsity and varsity games. Logan has been strong for us.
“We’re making progress, we’re young and dedicated with hard working girls and battle tested,” Tomlin said. “We have a tough 2A schedule and that should help make us battle tested in our 1A league. We just need to cut down on the turnovers. We broke their press, but couldn’t convert. We are so close.”
Custer County, too, has struggled as the Bobcats are only 2-6 following its victory against Elbert. Sarah Groff leads her team in scoring with a 9.3 average while Aspen Anderson scores 6.4 points a game.
The Elizabeth boys saw their pre-holiday portion of the basketball season end on a sour note as the Cardinals were beaten by Canon City, 70-62. They opened the 2013 portion of the season hosting Mitchell, Jan. 8th and coach Mike Boss has high hopes his boys can improve on the basketball court as sharply as they did on the football field this past season. The Cardinals take a 3-5 record into the new year.
Jake Gavitt has been the leader up front in the early going averaging 18.4 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. He has been followed by Cody Steinke, hitting 11.9 points a game, and James Christiansen, 6.8 points an outing. Gavitt and Trevyn Ross have been the leaders in the rebounding department pulling down 5.5 and 5.6 missed shots a game.
The girls opened the 2013 portion of their season playing at Conifer Jan. 7 with high hopes of improving on their 4-4 record. Like the boys, they also concluded the pre-holiday portion of the schedule losing to Canyon City, 52-32.
Tatum Neubert has been the only girl to average in double-figures for Elizabeth averaging 13.2 points a game. She also leads in rebounds pulling down 6.8 a game. She is closely followed here by Sabra Ross, 6.5 rebounds a game, and Clare Nicholas, 6.0 rebounds a night. Ross is also the second-leading scorer for the Cardinals, 7.0 points a game, followed by Nicholas 5.8 points a night.
It has been a pretty good start at Simla, especially for the girls, who have compiled an early 5-0 record under coach Al Snyder. And, it hasn’t been that bad for the boys as the Cubs are 4-1 heading into the new year under coach David Guy.
Simla resumed the season Jan. 11 and 12 as the boys and girls traveled to Byers and Elbert, respectively.
Kenzi Mitchell has had the hot hand in the early going for the girls averaging 19.8 points a game while pulling down 8.8 rebounds a night and dishing up 4.6 assists. Yet the Cubs have a total of four girls averaging in double-figures. Marilyn Alexander has averaged 13 points per game while pulling down 7.7 rebounds. She is followed by Jessica George, 11.8 points a game, and Sam Kaatz, 10.2 points a game.
The girls have had only one game in which they have been held to less than 64 points and that was their 58-41 victory against Kit Carson. Their biggest output was in their 78-34 victory against Genoa-Hugo.
Eric Fullmer has been the leader in point production for the Simla boys averaging 15 points a game. Cody Norris is the only other player in double-figures to date scoring 14.4 points a night. Norris and Aaron Thieman have also been standouts on defense with 12 and 11 steals, respectively.
The boys lost their only game of the season to Cheyenne Wells, 53-45. The Cubs closed out the pre-holiday break beating Flagler 52-20.
The Kiowa boys and girls basketball teams have been on different paths since the beginning of the season.
The boys will carry a 4-1 record into the new year while the girls, on the other hand, are 1-4 having lost four straight. The boys and girls get back into action Jan. 15, when they CIVA Christian. The boys will also be in action January 18, hosting Calhan.
The boys, coached by Walter Sutton, suffered their lone loss Dec. 7 against Limon (63-44). Other than that misfortune, it’s been a pretty solid season for the Indians. They closed out the pre-holiday schedule with a crushing 65-12 victory against a young Flagler outfit.
Three of the Kiowa players will take double-figure averages into the new year. Jordan Gabehart has lead the way in the early goings averaging 13.4 points a game. He is followed by Conner Pierson with his 12.0 average and Caleb Smith, hitting 11.2 points a game.
Pierson tops the team in rebounds to this date pulling down 7.8 miss shots a night. Smith is right behind with 6.2 rebounds, followed by Steven Mizak, 5.0 a game.
The girls, coached by Mark Clemmons, opened the season with a 50-49 victory against Pikes Peak Christian, but have since fell on hard times.
Clemmons will be looking for good things to come when the season resumes. Samantha Trehal, Rebecca Seward and Ashley Sandoval have the early season leaders for the Indians.