Trinity Lutheran’s senior boys came to play on their special night at the Bollinger Athletic Complex.
The Cougars’ seven 12th graders accounted for 65 points in a 72-36 senior night win over Jackson County — and sectional — foe Medora on Friday.
“They’re a very competitive group,” Cougars coach Brian Stuckwisch said of the seniors. “They mean a lot individually and to the school. They come and practice hard every day. They want to finish the season with 10 wins and get a sectional. I think tonight was a good confidence builder for them.”
In the first quarter, the Cougars (5-10) opened the game on a 9-0 behind four points from Kendall White in the post.
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The Hornets’ Hunter Browning scored a pair of baskets before the Cougars recorded nine unanswered points, capped by a 3-pointer by Colton Wischmeier, to lead 21-4 with 1:30 on the clock.
Browning would score all of the Hornets (0-15) points in the first eight minutes, as the Hornets trailed 21-6.
A score from Browning and trey from Brandon Moore cut the Hornets’ deficit to 26-16 with 5:44 in the second quarter.
The Cougars strung together a pair of 6-0 scoring streaks, again ending on a three by Wischmeier, as they led 42-23 at intermission.
Just two players from Medora scored in the first half, with Browning accounting for 16 points and Moore adding seven. White tallied 12 points for the Cougars at halftime.
“I didn’t feel like we could zone them the way (Trinity) was shooting,” Hornets coach Mark Morin said. “It’s the same old story, I thought they outplayed us the first few minutes of the game. Then we played eight good minutes and then gave up a bunch before the half. We just can’t consistently play our best.”
The squads went scoreless until Wischmeier got a layup of a ball that was saved out of bounds by Skyler Stahl at the 5:34-mark in the third quarter.
The Hornets would only get six points by the end of the third, as they trailed 55-29. Neither team scored for the final three minutes of the quarter.
Jacob Rowe opened Trinity’s scoring with a 3-pointer, and the Cougars built a 63-31 advantage by 5:38 in the fourth quarter.
Coasting the rest of the way, Trinity gave an opportunity to a player who typically works behind the scenes.
In the final few minutes of play, the Cougars put senior team manager Cory Stuckwisch in the game.
When Stuckwisch hit a 3-pointer with 1:25 left, the crowd erupted for the three-year manager.
“(Cory) has been telling me all year that he wanted to play on senior night,” coach Stuckwisch said. “He plays at all the practices and scrimmages with them. He knows the offense and defense. They were all rooting for him and wanted him to do well.”
White led the Cougars with 23 points to go along with nine rebounds and Wischmeier scored 16.
“We wanted to go inside first and get Kendall the ball,” coach Stuckwisch said. “The outside was open once they collapsed on him which led to some good looks at the basket.”
Browning topped the Hornets with 22 points and Moore chipped-in eight.
“We need a third player to step up,” Morin said. “We need to handle the ball better and be more patient. We’re taking quick shots because other guys aren’t stepping up. We don’t get to really get into our offense. They played hard, we just need to be more consistent.”
On the boards, the Cougars out-rebounded the Hornets 45-16.