NIFTY BUCKET — Cowboy Josiah Moerkerke flies past Shelby defender Chase White number 20, and puts up two of his 15 points on the night. Conrad won a cliffhanger of a game, 52-50. I-O Photo by Buck Traxler
By Adam Jerome, I-O Reporter
The Conrad Cowboy basketball team is off to another blistering December start. After two wins at the Manhattan Tourney, the Cowboys followed that up with two impressive victories at home to start the conference season.
On Friday night in the Corral home opener Conrad decimated Cascade 68-30.
The Cowboys came out ready to show the home crowd just how dominant they could be. After building a 20-3 lead after the first quarter the homeboys continued to pour it on as the lead swelled to 21 points at the half and 38 after the third period.
The team played its most solid all around game of the season as they shot 53 percent from the floor while dishing out 20 assists, grabbing 21 rebounds, pocketing 15 steals and only turning the ball over eight times.
Head Coach Tyson Anderson talked about the win, “We moved the ball effectively on offense and got some good looks. Our defensive pressure led to turnovers and challenged shots that opened up our transition game.”
Nate Gage was his usual stellar self with 15 points, six assists and four steals.
Big Rob Brenteson manned the blocks all night long with 12 points and five boards.
Graham Grubb shared the team lead in scoring with 15 points on 6-7 shooting.
Josiah Moerkerke joined in with another all around game with 12 points, four rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Ben Moerkerke added eight markers and five boards and Rhett Orcutt notched six points and four assists.
On Saturday night, the Cowboys faced their first real test of the season as the Shelby Coyotes coming off an impressive victory over Browning came to town in a matchup of unbeatens.
The game lived up to its billing as the Cowboys eked out a 52-50 win.
The contest was back and forth for most of the first half as the Cowboys won the first period by two followed by the Coyotes winning the second quarter by two as the teams were tied at the half.
The Cowboys came out in the third quarter and began to separate themselves as they built a ten point lead on a Gage three pointer as the buzzer sounded.
The Coyotes would not go down without a fight as they clawed their way back in the game with a chance to tie at the end of regulation, but the ball clanged off the rim to preserve the Cowboy W.
The Cowboys shot 20-48 from the field, grabbed 30 rebounds and secured the ball for most of the game as they only turned it over three times.
Coach Anderson commented, “Defensively we played well and did a fair job containing their shooters. Offensively we got the ball inside and hit the boards hard. We had a chance to put the game away late but missed free throws and had a few turnovers. Give them (Shelby) credit; they fought their way back in it at the end.
J. Moerkerke led the scoring attack with 15 points and eight assists. Graham Grubb was right behind him with 11 points. Gage also scored in double digits with 10 points while adding seven rebounds and five dimes.
Brenteson dropped in seven markers while hitting the boards hard for nine rebounds and three blocked shots.
Orcutt added seven points also and brought down four rebounds.
Grant Grubb rounded out the scoring with a bucket.
The Cowboys played at Rocky Boy on Monday and lost 84-37. Senior standout guard Nate Gage was injured early in the contest, the severity of his injury is not yet known. An injury report and highlights of the game against Rocky Boy and the contest against Cut Bank on Tuesday will appear in next week’s edition of the I-O.
After that Conrad has a break until next year as the Fairfield Eagles come to town on Jan. 7.