The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Mike Motz
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Creek Valley Falls Short Against Cody-Kilgore


Mike Motz

Creek Valley Junior Garrett Sawyer is among a talented group of underclassman expected to return and lead the Storm next season.

It was a season-ending loss for the Creek Valley Storm boys basketball team on Tuesday as they fell in their D2-6 Boys District Final game against the Cody-Kilgore Cowboys 47-40 in North Platte. The Cowboys continue on to the State Tournament, while the Storm will have to wait until next year for the chance to qualify for the State Tournament, which would be a first since the consolidation of Chappell and Lodgepole in 2004. The Storm end their season with an 11-11 record, highlighted by their victory in the D2-12 championship game against Leyton.

The Storm entered Tuesday's matchup against Cody-Kilgore as a slight underdog, and as the game played out it was apparent that the teams were pretty evenly matched. The first period was low scoring, ending with a score of 8-6 in favor of the Cowboys. As the second period progressed, Cody-Kilgore was able to establish a nine point lead, as Creek Valley had extreme difficulty hitting their shots from the field. Creek Valley junior Tanner Crass was able to cut the lead to 17-10 at the end of the half with a layup that found the hoop, and the Storm went to the locker room to make their adjustments and focus on the task at hand.

The adjustments worked as the Storm opened the second half finally finding their shooting groove, and were able to trim the Cowboy's lead to just one point, 22-21, until the Cowboys answered back in the second part of the quarter, opening up a 31-23 lead as the fourth quarter began. But the Storm regained their composure and showed they weren't going to fold in the fourth. Creek Valley's defense stiffened while its' offense again found their rhythm, going on a 10-0 run in the fourth to take a 35-33 lead with just over three minutes to play in regulation.

After their coach called a time out, Cody-Kilgore regrouped and went on the attack, finishing the game with a 14-5 run to end the contest with a 47-40 victory, and the Cowboys punched their ticket to the State Tournament for the first time since 2003. Creek Valley junior Tanner Crass led the scoring for the Storm with 16 points while senior Michael Smith finished his high school career with 12 points on the night.

After the game, Creek Valley head coach Roger Behrends commented, "It was a disappointing loss. The kids gave a great effort, but our shooting percentage was very low. Free throws were a big factor for the entire game".

Free throws always seem to play a significant factor in championship games, and this one followed suit with Creek Valley hitting a low 33 percent of their shots from the line, while the Cowboys hit 12 free throws in the fourth quarter alone.

Coach Behrends is optimistic about the future for the team. Although the Storm loses three seniors to graduation (Michael Smith, Michael Rahe, and Pierce Leef) they have younger players like Noah Knapp and Garret Sawyer in addition to returning starters Tanner Crass and Sam Grabowski to keep Creek Valley competitive.

"We should have a very strong team again next year", said Behrends, adding, "The kids just have to put the time in during the off season."


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