Sunday, March 5, 2017

Tigers Fall Short vs. Cards; Match Highest Win Total Since 1996

Worth County had its deepest run ever into the post-season and matched their highest win total since 1996 with 21 wins, but they fell short 54-41 against North Andrew Friday in St. Joseph. The last time Worth County won that many games, none of the current players were born, while P.J. Sanders, Daniel Gladstone, Nate Combs, Dustin Lambert, and friends were starting. The last time they won more was in 1982-83, when they were 23-4 and won Regionals before falling in Sectionals to Northeast Nodaway in the same building where they played against Braymer and North Andrew this year.

North Andrew, who has only lost one game this year, to Stanberry, has one of the quickest guards in the area in Ryan Hughes, who was a matchup problem for all the other teams the Cards faced this year. He was much quicker than anyone the Tigers had on the floor, and that opened everyone else up throughout the contest.

It was ten minutes into the game before the Tigers could find their footing against North Andrew. The Cardinals scored the first six points of the game; Worth County countered with an inside shot Mason Hawk and a drive from Ryan McClellan, but then fell asleep on defense and the speedy Hughes rushed it down the floor for a layup to spark a 9-2 run. When the dust had settled, North Andrew was on the verge of a blowout early in the second quarter with a 15-6 lead.

Finally, Ryan McClellan took on three North Andrew defenders and got two free throws to stop the bleeding; Tevin Cameron, the man of the hour against Mercer, jumped a pass to make it 15-10. Jacob Powelson’s three point play made it 20-12, but Cade Allee’s triple capped a 6-0 run that made it 20-18 before Lance Streeb’s backdoor look made it 22-18 at the half.

Cade Allee knocked down two more triples to bring the Tigers to within 25-24, but then missed two good looks that would have put Worth County in front. The teams traded buckets for the next few minutes until Caleb Patterson scored off a drive to make it 31-28. The backbreaker was a tipin from Aiden DeLong at the buzzer that made it 33-28 and totally sapped the energy out of Worth County.
Nothing went right for Worth County as Patterson scored on another fast break and Cole Thorburn went backdoor to make it 37-28. A triple that would have answered it from Tevin Cameron hit the shot clock and caromed through the hoop, but was ruled out by the officials.

Hughes’ drive with 5:03 left made it 39-28, but Drake Kinsella’s three point play and Cade Allee’s backdoor look from Tevin Cameron stopped the bleeding and made it 40-33 with 3:56 left, but DeLong, who had burned Worth County all night from the post, did so again, going backdoor and getting a three point play to make it double digits again at 43-33 with 3:27 left.

Worth County was finished at that point as they couldn’t keep up with the quicker Cardinal squad down the stretch as the Cards led by as much as 49-33 before a late rally could only get it down to 10 by the 20 second mark.

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