Battlers face first loss of season at State B tourney
The Mighty Potter County Battlers and the South Central Cougars, seeded four and five in the State B tournament, met in Aberdeen Thursday afternoon. There, the Battlers felt their first loss of the season after an incredible 22-0 year going into the tourney.
The Cougars made the first score of the game, which was quickly answered by the Battlers, and it was a three pointer by Kole Hawkinson with under three minutes left in the first that put the Potter County men in the lead. They exploded with a couple steals and quicklayups by Tanner Heuer, and the first quarter ended with a score of 14-11.
Heading into the second quarter of action, the Cougars re- took the lead by a point with just over five minutes to go. The Battlers got back on the top of the scoreboard and went into the locker room for the half-time break with the score 24-22.
The Cougars tied up the score on their first shot of the second half and took the lead with a three pointer. The Battlers went almost three minutes before Chayce Hall nailed a layup to tighten the score within a point. From there the teams went back and forth until South Central took their biggest lead of the game, 38-31, with about a minute left to go in the quarter. Tate Nafziger hit the layup at the last second and tightened the score to Cougars 38, Battlers 34.
Going into the last eight minutes of basketball, Hawkinson drew a foul in the first 30 seconds and tightened up the score by a couple points, showing again that the Battlers had practiced their free throws since their last appearance on the court.
With the Cougars up by five and six minutes to go, Mitch Hinkley came in under the net and tightened it up by two. The pace of the game picked up with the clock running and the nets swishing. A nine point spread made it the biggest lead of the game for South Central at 53-44, and Coach Bryce Hall called a timeout with 3:17 remaining.
It was nothing but net when Hawkinson was spot on for another three points, bringing the score up 47-53. Nafziger made it to the line and put up two free throws, bringing the score within five.
South Central got it done at the free throw line, with a sizzling showing in the 80 plus percentile.
The Battlers felt their first loss of the year in the first round of State B tournament play. Potter County will play Langford Area on Friday at noon.
By Molly McRoberts