The Mustangs welcomed conference rivals, the Harrison-Willow Creek Wildcats into the Ennis gym on Thursday, Jan. 9. Mustang Chad Johnerson went head-to-head with Wildcat Garrett Petersen for the tip off to commence the evening’s varsity games.
Johnerson pulled down the ball and Ennis senior Connor Sullivan scored the game’s first points with a field goal. Harrison-Willow Creek returned fire and the teams were evenly matched in the first quarter, the Mustangs barely trailing the Wildcats 11-12. In the second quarter, Ennis was able to pull ahead as Harrison-Willow Creek struggled with turnovers, though Petersen played big under the basket, pulling down both offensive and defensive rebounds for his team.
“[Petersen] was obviously our main form of offense,” head coach Jason Roed said. “He just stepped up and took control—he also ended up with 10 rebounds… they put [Sullivan] on him a bit, then they put [Reid Farnes] on him—both of those guys are great defenders but he was a leader out there.”
The Mustangs led the Wildcats 32-18 with the clock winding down in the second quarter, but Petersen was fouled by Farnes at the buzzer and made both free throws—the teams entered the locked room at half with a score of 32-20.
Ennis took the court in the third quarter with determination, scoring 25 points to the Wildcats’ nine. In the third quarter alone, Mustang senior Braydon McKitrick scored 10 points—he was good for two field goals and two 3-pointers.
Ennis head coach Zach Jepson rested most of his starters during the final quarter and the Wildcats were able to score 20 points to the Mustangs’ 15—bringing the final score of the game to 72-49 Ennis.
Petersen scored more than half his team’s total points, making 11 field goals and nine of 12 free throws for 31 points during the game. Junior Jed Fike scored eight points, senior John Brennan scored six and Chas Buus and Jon Strong scored two points apiece to add to the Wildcats’ total.
“In the first quarter especially we played really well,” Roed said. “Rebounding-wise we hung with Ennis really well and battled for the ball, which is so important against a team like that.”
McKitrick led the Mustangs with 20 points, followed closely by Sullivan who had 17. Senior guard Wes Goodman scored nine points, Johnerson scored eight, Walker McKitrick scored six, Reid Farnes had five, Wylie Leo made two field goals for four points and Colten Clark and Gavin McKitrick scored two and one points, respectively, to give the Mustangs 72 points for the game.
The Lady Wildcats and Lady Mustangs concluded the night of basketball after the boys’ game.
Harrison-Willow Creek’s Britt Cooper got control of the tip, but the Mustangs were the first on the board. Ennis led most of the first quarter, but Cooper tied it up at seven apiece with a 3-pointer. At the end of the first quarter, Mustang Kayla Coffman scored a field goal and Ennis led 9-7 going into the second quarter.
The Mustangs’ struggled in the second quarter, only scoring one point while The Wildcats led scoring in the second quarter with 16. The teams entered the locker room at the half with the Mustangs trailing 10-23.
Harrison-Willow Creek extended its lead in the third quarter, scoring 15 points to the Mustangs’ six. Ennis found its rhythm again in the final quarter and scored 16 points to the Wildcats’ 11—the game went to Harrison-Willow Creek with a final score of 32-49.
“Overall, we played really well,” Ennis coach Nick Burgess said. “We had a tough second quarter but we turned that around and had a great second half against a really good Harrison team.”
Mustang senior Kayla Coffman scored more than half her team’s total points, knocking down nine field goals and making a free throw for a point total of 19. Sophomore Makenzie Moen scored seven, Delaney McNally scored five and Chelsea Martello scored one.
“[Coffman] really came around,” Burgess said. “She played really, really hard and took great, quality shots—she was putting the shots up and they fell… [Moen and McNally] have really stepped up and their shots are starting to fall as well.”
Burgess said he feels his team is continuing to improve and learn from every game.
“We prepare the same way and look forward to every game,” he said. “We just take it one game at a time.”