Halfway through the 2013-14 regular season, area high school basketball teams are experienced but many like Sheridan have been tested with injuries and illness throughout the season.
Sheridan’s boys basketball head coach Chad Elser said he felt some relief, gaining back the play of Brant Marsh for the Panthers’ matchup against neighboring Twin Bridges on Jan. 16. Marsh was out for two weeks with an leg injury sustained against the Harrison-Willow Creek Wildcats on Jan. 3—the first game for the teams after the holiday break.
“It is nice to have him back out on the court,” Elser said of the senior. “He is a leader.”
That leadership proved useful as the Panthers, who Elser said were also battling some illnesses, kept the game close with the Falcons at home, eventually falling 34-57.
Sheridan trailed by nine points at the end of the first quarter, but got closer midway through the second quarter as the Panthers were within six points—16-22—of Twin Bridges.
Sensing the Panthers nipping at their heels, the Falcons pulled away before the half to leap ahead 16-28 at the end of the second quarter.
Gabe Johnson led the Falcons in scoring with 17. Jerricho Broksle had 12 and Nolan Konen ended the night with 11. Tracen Eggers, Woody Puckett and Jared Wisler all added four while Michael Walsh chipped in three and Colby Minert had two.
“Twin Bridges has more depth than we do,” Elser said after the game. “They were able to get some fresh legs in the game.”
Those fresh legs propelled the Falcons to an 18-point 23-41 lead headed into the final quarter, in which the Panthers kept pace with Twin Bridges but could not narrow the gap.
Colter Kenworthy led the Panthers with 15 points and Marsh was close behind with 12. Sam Wood chipped in four points while Cheyenne Fuller added one and Tristen Horn scored two.
Elser said he hopes with a little rest his team will be able to perform better later this week against Lone Peak and White Sulphur Springs.
“We have been playing bigger teams all season,” Elser said. “We should be able to compete with Lone Peak and White Sulphur Springs.”
The Panthers host Lone Peak Thursday, Jan. 24, starting with junior varsity action at 4 p.m. They travel to White Sulphur Springs the following day.
Illness and injury did some damage on the Sheridan girls basketball team last week too. Coach Wendy Fabel said a number of her players were out sick and injured while some others tried to play through it.
“We just did not have a good night,” Fabel said of the Panthers’ 11-54 loss to Twin Bridges.
While not missing from the lineup, starter Janie Smart and the spark she brings to the Panthers was missed in the scoring column, Fabel said. Smart, who the coach called a key player, scored just two points in the game. Those were Sheridan’s only points in the first quarter, which ended with Twin Bridges on top 2-19.
“She played but she was not feeling well,” Fabel said.
Tionna Schwend added another two points for the Panthers in the second quarter. Sheridan trailed the Falcons 4-33 at halftime.
A 3-point basket from Sheridan’s lead scorer on the night, April Degel, brought the score to 7-44 at the end of the third quarter. Degel went on to score four more points in the final quarter.
“They usually drive to the basket and take more shots,” Fabel said of her team. “It was a rough night. They were very flat.”
Twin Bridges, on the other hand, seemed to take all the shots they could, making a large majority of them. Eleven Falcons scored in the game, with the lead scorer being sophomore Maddy Beagley with nine points.
“We have more experience and a lot of depth,” Twin Bridges coach Rob Lott said of how the Falcons topped the Panthers. “It was a good team effort.”
Fabel said she was interested in seeing how the Panthers would do against Lone Peak in their own gym with some rest.
“We played well against Lone Peak last time,” she said. “Foul trouble gave them 41 free-throw opportunities and kept us out of it.”
While Sheridan prepares for Lone Peak and White Sulphur Springs, Twin Bridges travels to Harrison to face the Wildcats tomorrow and hosts Gardiner the following day. Lott said both games should be good, adding that his team has a lot of respect for the unbeaten Wildcats with whom the Falcons played closely last season. The battle between the two teams culminated in the District Tournament championship game with Twin Bridges on top.