Bulldogs grab 23-14 first-half lead before Cyclones storm back
Mike Huseman keeps putting up career-highs and 1A top-ranked Alta (11-0, 10-0 Northwest Conference) keeps on winning.
While the Cyclones beat their rival to the west for the second time this season - 69-53 Tuesday - it was a 35-point improvement for the Bulldogs, which lost to Alta 78-27 when the teams met before Christmas break earlier this season.
Huseman led the way for Alta with a career-best 23 points, while Chris Schmitz and Aaron Hansen tallied 10 and nine points, respectively.
Cody Nesbitt and Jordan Hinkeldey dropped off six and five assists respectively. Hansen pulled down a team-leading five rebounds.
The Bulldogs gave Alta its biggest early-game scare this season, taking a 23-14 lead on an Aaron Bruce layup at the 6:37 mark of the second quarter.
Alta, however, closed the half with an 18-2 run, punctuated by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the right corner by Huseman that sent the Clones into the lockers up 32-25.
Huseman also had a short jumper, two layups and a free throw during Alta's flurry, while Schmitz scored five points in a 13-second span during that run.
"This was a good win on the road for us. Aurelia is the toughest place to play in the conference," Cyclones coach Bart Smith said. "They shot the ball well to start with. We were allowing them too many easy scoring opportunities.
"I thought our kids did a good job of making the adjustments and having poise to get back into the game after falling down 12-6 in the first quarter. Our ability to go to our bench wore them out and they started to turn the ball over in the remaining quarters, which allowed us to ignite our offense."
Aurelia coach Grant Peckenschneider said he was pleased with his team's effort Tuesday. The Bulldogs led 17-12 after one period.
"The kids played extremely hard and left it all on the court," Peckenschneider said. "Considering we got beat by 51 the last time we played them, to lose by 16 is a big improvement."
Aaron Bruce led Aurelia with 14 points, Cam Meyer added 13 and Jared Bruce 12.
Jared Bruce led the team in rebounds (7), assists (5) and steals (2), while Aaron Bruce posted two blocks.
The Bulldogs were 21-of-40 from the floor but only 8-for-19 at the charity stripe. They turned the ball over 20 times.
"Jared hit some big threes to keep us in it late," Peckenschneider said. "Mason Sangwin gave us quality time. Anthony Fowler in his first start played well. Aaron Bruce had a solid game and Camrin Meyer continues to improve.
"(Shooting) 8-for-19 from the free throw line needs to improve and 20 turnovers is never good but you have to give credit to coach Smith and his boys. They are a solid team and they can go so deep on their bench that they wore us down a bit by the fourth quarter."
Score by Quarters
Alta 12 20 25 12 - 69
Aurelia 17 8 15 13 - 53
ALTA - Scott Radke 1-2 1-2 3, Jack Mills 3-4 0-1 6, Chris Schmitz 5-7 0-1 10, Jordan Hinkeldey 1-4 1-2 3, Quentin Thomas 3-7 0-0 6, Mike Huseman 9-15 2-3 23, Aaron Hansen 4-9 1-2 9, Josiah DeRoos 1-1 0-0 2, Austin Stille 3-5 0-0 7. Totals 30-61 5-11 69. 3-Point Goals: 4 (Huseman 3, Stille).