BASKET BOUND — Jacob Horn, number 3, of Choteau drives around Seth Moerkerke in the lane towards the basket. Looking on are Devin VandenBos, Austin Walker and Kesler Martin. Horn scored four points in the game, but Conrad was the winner, 57-52 at the divisional tournament in Malta. Photo courtesy of Kelly Martin
Conrad fell behind early to the Glasgow Scotties at the Northern B Division meet in Malta, but rallied back in the fourth period to win the opening round contest 37-30
On the tip off, Ben Moerkerke moved the ball to Kesler Martin. Conrad moved the ball around the horn and then into the 6’-7” Moerkerke who dropped the ball home for the early 2-0 lead.
Martin would hit for a score, Moerkerke added another hoop and the Cowboys quickly built a 6-2 lead.
However, the Scotties came right back and went on a modest six point run to lead 8-6 and early on go 6-6 from the floor as they led 15-10 after the first quarter.
Glasgow, however, could not put the Cowboys away and only led by five, 21-16 at the intermission. Heading down the stretch, the home boys were down by three, 23-26.
Opening the period, Moerkerke hit a short jumper to get Conrad within one 25-26 and Clay Winters popped a shot for the 27-26 lead.
Conrad would not fall behind again. Devin VandenBos scored three times in the period, Winters, Moerkerke and Martin dumped in key free throws to ice the game, 37-30. Conrad had rallied from being six down at one time.
B. Moerkerke marked down 16 points in the scoring column.
Winters banged home nine, VandenBos three, Martin the same, while Austin Zomer, Sam Larson and Seth Moerkerke each had a hoop.
The Cowboys popped for 15 shots from the floor and went 6-9 at the line. The Scotties did not help their cause with 23 turnovers, scored on 12 shots from the floor and went 3-4 at the line.
Coach Tyson Anderson commented, “Our defense was outstanding after the first quarter only giving up 15 points in the final three quarters.” He went on to add, “We scrapped until the end and did enough to get the win.”
Other scores saw Fairfield down defending state champions 47-32, Plentywood stopped Cut Bank 52-37 and Malta spanked Choteau 74-50.
Friday the Cowboys went up against the number one seed from the 1B, Fairfield. Early on Conrad built a 10-6 lead but over the next three quarters the Eagles outscored the team 34-16 and held on at the end for a 51-41 win.
B. Moerkerke poured in 19 points, pulled down eight boards, had four steals and blocked two shots in a losing effort.
Winters pumped home 11 points, VandenBos four, Seth Moerkerke, Camron Janzen and Kesler Martin all had two each and Austin Zomer hit a free shot from the line.
The Cowboys hit on 14-40 shots from the floor and went 12-18 at the line. The team was 1-13 from beyond the arc.
Fairfield hit on 17 shots from the floor and was 12-25 at the line.
Coach Anderson said, “We got away from the game plan in the third quarter, allowing them to get out to a sizeable lead. We did, however, not quit until the final buzzer.”
Saturday morning Conrad took to the court with Choteau with their backs to the wall in loser out play.
The home boys blazed their way to a big first period lead, 20-8 behind the hot shooting of Janzen, Winters and B. Moerkerke and went on to win 57-52.
Janzen drilled a pair of treys, Winters did the same and Moerkerke duped in six points from the inside. Over the second half both teams scored 29 points.
Choteau, behind their “go to guy” Isaac Howard actually rallied back and had a brief 51-52 lead with just over a minute to play.
But Winters rammed home a shot to get the lead back, 53-52 with 1:10 to play. The ‘Dawgs were done scoring for the morning. Janzen nailed four huge shots from the line and VandenBos and B. Moerkerke hit shots as well.
“We shot the ball well, getting us out to a nice lead,” said Anderson. He went on to add, “The boys kept their composure when Choteau tied the game and we executed at the end to capture the victory.”
Winters pumped in 17 points to lead the way. Janzen bounced in 12 off the glass. Moerkerke had a terrific game, getting a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also had a blocked shot and a steal.
Conrad hit on 21 shots from the field and drilled 6-10 three pointers. There were 9-16 at the line.
Choteau scored on 21 shots from the floor and was 8-9 at the line.
The win put the home boys in the consolation game for third or fourth place. A win meant a possible challenge game.
Conrad fashioned a 23-18 lead by the break and went on to win 43-35. However, there was a couple of close moments. In the third period, the Wildcats took a brief 27-29 lead.
But S. Moerkerke got a lay-in from under the basket to tie the game and brother Ben hit a buzzer beater to give Conrad a 31-29 lead going to the final eight minutes.
Down the stretch, Janzen, Martin, Winters and VandenBos all hit key free throws to help the team to the win.
Winters and Moerkerke both sliced the nets for 13 points. Moerkerke also pulled down seven boards, blocked five shots, had three steals and two assists.
VandenBos scored five, S. Moerkerke four, Larson three and Martin and Janzen had two each.
Conrad committed only nine turnovers, hit on 14 shots from the field and was 13-21 at the line. The ‘Cats hit on 15 shots from the floor and went just 3-6 at the line.
Coach Anderson tells the I-O, “We were at a terrible size disadvantage, but we worked our tails off defensively to overcome that.”
He went on to add, “I was disappointed that our season could not continue, but I’m very proud of my team for what they did and what kind of young men they are.
The home boys needed some help from Fairfield to get a challenge game, but the Eagles lost to Malta putting a nix on that. Only two teams advance to the “Big Dance.”