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Wisner-Pilger, Wakefield win Shootout divisions

January 1, 2019

WISNER — Wisner-Pilger didn’t have anyone who could match Ponca junior Carter Kingsbury.

But it didn’t matter, because the Gators as a team were just enough to seal a signature 48-44 triumph over the defending Class C2 champion Indians in the Shootout on the Elkhorn on Monday here.

Weather postponed the first two scheduled days of the tournament, and the 26th annual event was split from its typical eight-team, three-day format into two separate four-team, two-day brackets.

The Gators claimed the Green division championship, while Wakefield won the White division title 59-40 against Winnebago to remain undefeated.

In the first of the two championship games, Wisner-Pilger used an 11-0 run over four minutes of the third quarter to take control.

“I think this was an important game to show our kids that, hey, we can play with these upper-class people,” Wisner-Pilger coach Duane Mendlik said.

That came immediately after it appeared Kingsbury had captured the momentum with back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game, the second one off an Evan Anderson assist less than three minutes into the second half.

The Ponca junior finished with game-highs of 24 points and 11 rebounds, but he was 3 of 12 inside the arc and 7 of 23 from the field.

“We wanted to know where he (Kingsbury) was all the time, and we didn’t do a great job all the time,” Mendlik said. “We thought about putting one man on him, but I don’t feel you can do that in the middle of a game if you haven’t practiced it for a while. So he was getting some open looks.”

Just four Indians found the scoring column as Ponca finished 15 of 54 (27.8 percent) from the field. Because of that, the balance of Wisner-Pilger took over.

“We just needed more guys to hit some shots,” Ponca coach Adam Poulosky said. “Carter hit some shots ... we just needed some other guys who got good looks to hit them.”

Colby Heller, who had team-highs of 16 points and eight rebounds, scored off a Dylan Kneifl assist to retake the lead, and then Jayden Raabe found Justin Pieper for a corner 3-pointer 40 seconds later. Raabe connected from short range before two Pieper free throws and another Heller basket gave the Gators a 39-28 advantage with 50 seconds left in the third quarter.

“They’re good,” Poulosky said of Wisner-Pilger. “They’re long. They’ve got some good shooters. They’re going to win a lot of games.”

Wisner-Pilger led by at least two possessions the rest of the way. That’s not to say Ponca never got close again.

Kingsbury hit a jumper with 4:45 left, then Anderson added two free throws moments later before Anderson’s steal led to a Gage McGill layup to cut the lead down to five with 4:05 left. Caden Jackson answered for Wisner-Pilger, but Kingsbury knocked down a 3 to make it 46-42 with 3:10 left.

Heller hit a free throw with 1:33 left, added another with 58.8 left, but Kingsbury answered with two of his own with 46.7 on the clock. A scrum following a loose ball ensued moments later, and officials awarded Wisner-Pilger with a timeout with 35.4 left.

But on the ensuing inbounds play, an offensive foul gave possession back to Ponca. The Indians missed a 3-pointer and a layup down the stretch, allowing the Gators to come away with the win.

“We’ve got to do a better job of attacking the zone,” Poulosky said. “Earlier, we relied on the 3-pointer too much. We could’ve gotten some penetration. We’ve got to get guys the ball inside where they can do something with it.”

The Gators ended up 20 of 43 (46.5 percent) from the field but had to overcome 3 of 13 3-pointers and 5 of 12 free-throw shooting.

“(If) we shoot free throws (better), we’re in pretty good shape,” Mendlik said. “Five for 12 isn’t going to do it. Some of those were at the front end of a one-and-one, and those hurt even more.”

Ponca has now dropped two of its three games since rising to No. 1 in the Class C ratings on Dec. 20.

TO WIN THE White division championship, Wakefield raced to a 15-0 run in the first half — most of that part of outscoring Winnebago 27-12 in the second quarter — in improving to 9-0 on the season.

“We were just playing really well as a team, but it all starts with our defense,” Wakefield coach Joe Wendte said. “Our defense is why we’re 9-0. It really clicked in the second quarter, hitting some big shots and getting a nice lead at halftime.”

Solomon Peitz finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Justin Erb tacked on 16 points for the Trojans, which finished 21 of 50 (42 percent) from the field.

Winnebago, which fell to 4-4 on the season, finished 14 of 50 (28 percent), including 6 of 21 from 3-point range. T. J. Frenchman — the lone senior starter — led Winnebago with 15 points.

“We’re kind of young,” Indians coach Jeff Berridge said. “We’ve got one guard who’s played a lot for me, but that’s just one guard. Our other guards haven’t been in this situation, and it’s a learning experience for us.”

Green division championship

Ponca 12 8 11 13 — 44

Wisner-Pilger 11 11 17 9 — 48

PONCA (7-2): Gage McGill 4-11 0-0 8; Brandon Kneifl 2-8 0-2 5; Carter Kingsbury 7-23 6-6 24; Jayde Reid 0-3 0-2 0; Evan Anderson 2-6 2-2 7; Paul Masin 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 15-54 8-12 44.

WISNER-PILGER (7-2): Cole Jacobsen 1-2 0-0 2; Justin Pieper 4-9 2-3 11; Caden Jackson 3-12 0-0 8; Dylan Kneifl 1-3 0-0 2; Colby Heller 7-10 2-6 16; Jayden Raabe 4-7 1-3 9. Totals: 20-43 5-12 48.

3-point field goals: PON 6-23 (Kingsbury 4-11, Kneifl 1-4, Anderson 1-5); W-P 3-13 (Jackson 2-9, Pieper 1-3). Rebounds: PON 28 (Kingsbury 11, Anderson 9); W-P 31 (Heller 8, Kneifl 7, Raabe 7, Pieper 6). Assists: PON 9 (Anderson 5); W-P 12 (Kneifl 4). Steals: PON 6 (Anderson 2); W-P 2. Blocked shots: PON 0; W-P 2.

White division championship

Wakefield 12 27 11 9 — 59

Winnebago 10 10 13 7 — 40

WAKEFIELD (9-0): Gabe Peitz 0-6 2-4 2; Justin Erb 6-13 2-2 16; Blake Heimann 0-4 2-2 2; Blake Brown 1-1 0-1 3; Solomon Peitz 8-15 4-6 20; Dylon Harder 3-7 1-2 7; Esgar Godinez 3-4 0-0 8; Nick Arenas 0-0 1-2 1. Totals: 21-50 12-18 59.

WINNEBAGO (4-4): Kellen Crossbear 0-4 0-0 0; Javon Price 2-5 2-2 7; T. J. Frenchman 5-16 2-3 15; Jeriah GreyOwl 0-4 0-0 0; Ed Payer IV 2-8 2-4 7; Justine Kitcheyan 1-4 0-0 3; Jarius Bass 1-3 0-0 2; B. J. Proctor 2-3 0-0 4; Raul Loera Jr. 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 14-50 6-8 40.

3-point field goals: WAKE 5-10 (Godinez 2-2, Erb 2-4, Brown 1-1); BAGO 6-21 (Frenchman 3-6, Payer 1-1, Price 1-2, Kitcheyan 1-3). Rebounds: WAKE 31 (S. Peitz 11, Erb 7); BAGO 17 (Bass 5). Assists: WAKE 10 (Brown 3); BAGO 8 (GreyOwl 4). Steals: WAKE 7; BAGO 9. Blocked shots: WAKE 0; BAGO 1.

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