Spartans battle past Broncos in NVC play
STUART — Boyd County dialed back the press defense that earlier had given them the momentum to claim a battle of Class D rated teams in Niobrara Valley Conference play here Thursday night.
It also helped that Stuart missed some big-time chances as the Broncos made no field goals in the final three minutes, including not getting a shot off of an inbounds play with 8.7 seconds left.
Instead, the visiting visiting Spartans got a steal and two free throws by Cory Lechtenberg with 0.4 seconds left to polish off a 51-46 triumph.
“We took off the press,” Boyd County coach Matt Korkow said. “That was the first and foremost thing. Once we did that, we settled in on defense. … I think it messed with them. They weren’t expecting it, and it worked to our favor tonight.”
That came after Stuart battled back to score six points in 48 seconds, capped by a Wade Paxton driving layup and Ethan Sattler steal and layup, to tie the game at 44 with 3:05 left. But those would be the last shots that the Broncos would hit from the field.
“It came down to making shots and making a play here or there,” Stuart coach John Miller said. “We had a couple of costly turnovers, and we gave up a couple of costly offensive rebounds.”
Boyd County got a break on the next possession when a timeout was awarded to the Spartans after it appeared Isaac Steinhauser got a steal. Wyatt Paxton then fouled out with 2:18 left, resulting in 1 of 2 free throws by Evan Reiman.
Steinhauser made two free throws on the next possession to take the lead at 46-45 with 1:47 to go. But Reiman and Lechtenberg each split a pair of free throws in the next 20 seconds to give the Spartans the lead for good.
“We were getting those crucial turnovers, and we were also taking crucial, high-percentage shots,” Korkow said.
Hansen made two free throws to push the advantage to three, but Stuart called a timeout with 8.7 seconds left to set up a final play. A couple Broncos got tangled up, and Lechtenberg grabbed the loose ball and was fouled with 0.4 seconds left, and his free throws provided the final margin.
“We threw it into the Sattler boy, and he reversed it, and then he was supposed to come off a double screen to the corner on a skip pass,” Miller said. “They defended it well.”
Early on, the Boyd County press led to four steals as a part of six first-quarter turnovers for Stuart. The Spartans scored seven of the game’s first nine points, keyed by a Hansen 3-point play, before opening up a nine-point lead with back-to-back 3-pointers to begin the second quarter.
Lechtenberg found Jaeten Ellwanger for a 3-pointer, and on the next possession, Ellwanger connected with Hansen for a long-range shot to make it 23-14 with 6:36 until halftime.
Stuart couldn’t get going offensively in the second quarter, missing 11-straight shots at one point, but the Broncos hit 6 of 7 free throws in the quarter to stay within striking distance.
“We still have a long ways to go,” Korkow said.
Boyd County 17 10 11 13 — 51
Stuart 14 10 8 14 — 46
BOYD COUNTY (7-2): Jaeten Ellwanger 2-6 0-0 6; Cory Lechtenberg 3-8 3-4 12; Colby Hansen 4-11 3-3 12; Evan Reiman 2-8 5-8 9; Kody Roth 2-9 1-5 5; Shay Nelson 0-1 0-0 0; Mason Disterhaupt 0-1 2-4 2; Jory Zeisler 2-6 1-3 5. Totals: 15-50 15-27 51.
STUART (7-4): Wyatt Paxton 2-6 1-4 5; 3-8 2-4 8; Isaac Steinhauser 4-13 7-9 15; Wade Paxton 2-6 2-2 6; Tyler Steinhauser 2-6 3-6 7; Jett Kunz 0-5 0-0 0; Coltin Schroder 2-5 1-1 5. Totals: 15-49 16-26 46.
3-point field goals: BC 6-16 (Lechtenberg 3-7, Ellwanger 2-4, Hansen 1-3); STU 0-7. Rebounds: BC 27 (Roth 7, Hansen 6, Zeisler 6); STU 21 (Wy. Paxton 7). Assists: BC 10 (Lechtenberg 3, Roth 3); STU 7 (Wa. Paxton 3). Steals: BC 10 (Lechtenberg 4); STU 6 (Sattler 2, Schroder 2). Blocked shots: None.