By Harvey Brock
RUDYARD The Blue Sky Eagles overcame a fast start by the KG KouGars and rallied in the second half to defeat the visiting team.
Led by the hot shooting of junior guard Casey Crites and the play of forwards Tyler Kapperud and Thomas Marshall, the visiting KouGars jumped out to a 12-point lead in the first quarter. Crites led both teams in scoring with 24 points, scoring 20 in the first half. Kapperud and Thomas added 14 apiece for the game.
Kapperud played well despite a sore ankle he sprained in practice on Monday.
KG started the second period the same as it had in the first and held off every first-half attempt by Blue Sky to come back. The KouGars, who played about as well as a team could play, took a 38-30 lead into the locker room at intermission.
The second half and the game belonged to the Eagles, paced by the inside-outside combination of junior Mitch McKinley and senior Brent Petrick. Petrick led Blue Sky in scoring with 19 points as the Eagles cut the lead to six points at the end of three quarters. The Eagles completed their comeback in the final period, and took the lead on junior Kevin Jurenka's lay-up with four minutes remaining.
KG refused to fold, and the game was in doubt until the final minute. Trailing by three, KG was forced to foul and the Eagles hit their free throws to preserve the win at home.
The KouGar starters played the entire game before two fouled out in the last two minutes. KG coach Charlie Robinson was proud of his team's effort and refused to blame
the loss on fatigue.
"I have had teams that have won state championships playing only five players," he said.
"I was really pleased with the kids' intensity and effort," he added. "Our youth showed a bit at times and that hurt us. When you get down the stretch, you have to play at a higher level, but all in all we played a super game and I was proud of the way the kids played."
Blue Sky coach Darin Hannum was happy with the win.
"Charlie Robinson is a hell of a coach. His kids did everything they could but win," he said.
Hannum thought his team's depth may have added up, and was pleased with his team's effort.
"The kids all played well. John Lipp had a good game for us. Brent (Petrick) and Mitch (McKinley) played well in the second half. When those two play well, we play well, our team usually plays well."
KG Casey Crites 24, Luke Antonich 2, Thomas Marshall 14, Tyler Kapperud 14, Kyle Donoven 1, Richie Melby 4.
Blue Sky Jon Lipp 8, Brent Petrick 16, Mike Hutchinson 13, Keenan Toner 10, Mitch McKinley 13, Ryan Wells 2, Kevin Jurenka 4.