Despite leading by 10-points with just 6:52 remaining in the game, the Chadron Cardinals’ boys’ basketball team was unable to hold on, dropping their C1-12 Sub-District game with Mitchell, and putting an end to their season.
The Mitchell Tigers chipped away at the Chadron lead, tying the game at 36 with just over a minute remaining after Mitchell’s Jonathan Pieper stole the ball from a Chadron player and scrambled down the court.
Pieper had a chance to give the Tiger’s their first lead since the first quarter after being fouled on the tying basket, but missed his shot from the line.
The Cardinals’ Cooper Heusman had an opportunity to give Chadron another lead with thirty-seconds remaining but his three-point attempt missed its mark, and with just eight seconds remaining a Keaton Reichert layup gave the Tiger’s their winning basket.
Chadron had one final offensive-zone possession after Coach Eric Calkins took a timeout with three-and-a-half seconds remaining, but the Cardinals’ drawn-up play wouldn’t come to fruition, forcing Colton Olson to throw up a desperate shot at the buzzer that missed its mark.
Mitchell’s comeback bid was led by sophomore Pieper who had 14-points to lead all scorers. Fellow sophomore Blake Thyne was the only other player in the contest to break into double-digits, scoring 11-points, including hitting five-of-eight at the free-throw line.
On Thursday, Thyne led all scorers, going off for 28 points against the Gordon-Rushville Mustangs in the C1-12 Sub-District Championship. With the win, the Tigers advanced to the C1-6 District Final, playing the Ogallala Indians Tuesday night. Results were not in at time of publication.
Chadron will graduate a handful of seniors this season, but junior Patrick Rust, who had a second-best eight points for the Cardinal’s against Mitchell, and has consistently improved as a player over his career, should be a player to watch next season, along with current sophomore Cooper Heusman, who shined as a scorer in parts of the season.