Bearcats earn wins over Norfolk teams

December 23, 2018

Kearney’s 6-foot 8 Shiloh Robinson stood tall Friday night in the Bearcats’ 50-48 overtime win over Norfolk High School.

A big part of the senior’s influence on the game came at the final buzzer when he leaped to contest Luke Kluver’s 3-point attempt from the left wing on the Panthers’ final opportunity of the extra period.

It worked. Kluver’s shot missed and Kearney came away with the win.

Earlier, in the girls game, Kearney used an effective trapping 1-2-2 defense to disrupt the Panthers’ offense during a 48-36 win.

Kluver’s shot came after Robinson had tied the game at 48 on a basket from the block with 34 seconds remaining.

The Kearney win had appeared unlikely earlier in the game when the Panthers put together a barrage of four-straight 3-point shots as part of 16-0 run during a 23-point first quarter to take a 23-14 lead.

Cameron Eisenhauer provided Norfolk with 12 of those 23 points by making 4 of 5 shots, including two 3s, while Kluver added seven points. The pair would go on to lead the Panthers in scoring with 20 and 14 points, respectively.

“Norfolk has a tendency of doing that at home; they come out and stroke 3s and get the crowd involved,” Kearney coach Drake Beranek said. “I credit our guys with continuing to battle and chip away and have a chance to win.”

Norfolk maintained a 31-21 halftime advantage at halftime but made just 2 of 7 shots in the second period, including what would be the Panthers’ final 3 of the game.

“We’ve got to figure something out because we come out in the first quarter and our pace on offense is really good,” Norfolk coach Tony Siske said. “Then we have lulls when we’re not cutting as hard, we quit screening and coming off screens as hard.”

In the third quarter, Kearney was quick to respond with a noticeably focused defensive effort, keeping Norfolk’s offense at bay as the Panthers made just 3 of 10 shots

And on the offensive side of things, the Bearcats outscored Norfolk 19-9 in the period behind seven-straight points by sophomore Jack Johnson.

“In the first half, we were doing some things that were a little out of character, some zones and things,” Beranek said. “That’s just not who we are, so we just had to get back to guarding your man one-on-one, limiting help, and running them off the 3-point line.”

Johnson, a sophomore reserve, came off the bench to contribute 16 points to lead the Bearcats in scoring, with Carson Schwarz matching Robinson’s 15-point total.

“We didn’t expect it (Johnson’s scoring), but he had a good junior varsity game today,” Beranek said. “He stepped up for us big time; we knew he had it in him, so it was nice to see him come out and play with confidence like the player we know he is.”

Robinson drew double- and triple-teams from the Norfolk defense, which made Johnson’s performance crucial to the game’s outcome.

“We wanted to give him a lot of attention; we thought they had a couple of guys that we could help off of, and I thought for the most part we did a good job,” Siske said.

The win allows Kearney, recently ranked No. 10 in Class A, to improve to 5-2 on the season, while the Panthers slip to 2-4 on the season.

“I’m really proud of our kids though; we’ve played four really good teams,” Siske said. “And if you look at the direction we’re going against those teams, we’re going the right direction.”

IN THE GIRLS GAME, Kearney led 9-4 after one quarter and 16-12 at halftime, putting together a second half that included 15 points in the third quarter and 17 in the final period.

Although the Bearcats forced 28 Norfolk turnovers, a failure to convert those chances into points kept the door open for a comeback by the Panthers.

“We’ve been going to the 1-2-2 a lot lately; we’ve got some length, and it has helped us three of our games,” Kearney coach Jason Boyd said. “I’m frustrated with our getting steals and then turning it over a lot ourselves, but some of that credit has to go to Norfolk because they’re so scrappy, and they’re a good halfcourt defensive team.”

Adison Wood’s 26 points led Kearney (3-4) in scoring, while Gabby Ruth’s 12 points paced Norfolk (2-4).

Both teams produced similar offensive statistics, with Kearney making 15 of 39 field goal attempts and the Panthers converting 14 of 34 shots. But the Bearcats capitalized at the free throw line by making 15 of 22 chances.

Norfolk’s turnovers and 3 of 11 free throw shooting also hindered the Panthers’ from putting together a come-from-behind bid.

“Those 28 turnovers are a lot of shot attempts that we didn’t get, and 3 of 11 at the line is also points we could have had,” Norfolk coach Jared Oswald said. “We had worked against their trapping zone, but not enough. I told the girls, that’s on me.”

Boys game

Kearney 14 7 19 6 (4) — 50

Norfolk 23 8 9 6 (2) — 48

Kearney (5-2): Carson Schwarz 6-14 0-3 15, Brayden Miller 0-0 0-2 0, Seth Stroh 1-3 0-0 2, Colin Murray 1-4 0-0 2, Jack Johnson 7-8 0-0 16, Shiloh Robinson 7-10 1-1 15. Totals: 22-37 1-6 50.

Norfolk (2-4): Connor Clayton 2-3 1-2 5, Tyson Stelling 1-7 2-2 4, Cameron Eisehauer 7-14 3-4 20, Luke Kluver 5-11 3-3 14, Cooper Caskey 1-1 0-1 3. Totals: 16-35 9-12 48.

Girls game

Kearney 9 7 15 17 — 48

Norfolk 4 8 11 13 — 36

Kearney (3-4): Kari Struebing 0-1 0-0 0, Alexis Mishou 1-5 2-2 4, Adison Wood 7-15 10-12, Janae Kowalski 2-4 0-1 5, Aspen Rusher 0-6 2-5 2, Elle Dahlgren 2-4 1-2 5, Lily Novacek 3-5 0-0 6. Totals: 15-39 15-22 48.

Norfolk (2-4): Gabby Ruth 4-8 2-5 12, Anden Baumann 3-7 0-2 7, Karly Kalin 0-1 0-0 0, Hailey Kleinschmit 2-4 0-0 5, Chelsea Strom 1-3 0-0 2, Jalen Hoffman 2-6 0-2 5, Jordyn Schommer 0-2 0-0 0, Alex Ruth 2-3 1-2 5. Totals: 14-34 3-11.

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