By William /

WHITEWATER – In the rubber match of cross-county rivals for the season, the Inman boys managed to out duel the Moundridge by three points, winning 43-40 on Friday to advance in the Class 2A sub-state tournament.

With the Teutons winning a matchup with Moundridge, 51-47, back at the beginning of the season in early December, and the Wildcats defeating Inman by 18, 51-33, right at month ago on February 4, the game was a true rubber match and bragging rights until next season.

The loss ends the 2021-22 season for the Wildcats, finishing with an overall mark of 18-4.

With the victory, the Teutons are now 18-4 and will now advance to play in their sub-state finals for an opportunity to play in the Class 2A state tournament next week. The only thing standing in the way is a Saturday matchup with Hillsboro who is now 21-1 on the season and ranked number one in Class 2A. Hillsboro beat Sedgwick 60-26 on Friday. Inman lost to Hillsboro, 65-37, in the second game of the season.

On Friday, the Wildcats and Teutons played to a 9-9 tie at the end of the first quarter before the Wildcats took a slim one-point, 23-22, lead heading into the halftime break. Coming out of the intermission, Inman outscored Moundridge by five in the third quarter to take a four-point, 36-32, lead into the final eight minutes of the season for one of the teams. While the Wildcats tried to rally, they were unable to chisel more than a point off the Teuton lead, giving Inman the final three-point victory.

“We really just gutted this one out tonight,” explained Teuton head coach Brett Froese in his brief post-game comments. “The boys played tough, and we were proud of the effort. Tomorrow night will be super tough, but the boys will play hard, I have no doubt about that. Hillsboro is the best team probably in several classes. We are going to have to survive early and have some things go our way, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”

“Not the way I wanted to end the season,” noted Wildcat head coach Vance Unrau. “We had our opportunities but just didn’t take advantage of them. Defensively, we knew how much they liked to attach the paint, but we just didn’t have the help side as quickly as needed. Offensively, we didn’t shoot it great, at least not how well we have grown accustomed to. We have to give credit the Inman defense for some of that lower shot percentage.”

For the game, Moundridge only connected on 32% of their shots while Inman hit on 53%.

Individually for the Wildcats, Landon Kaufman closed out his season by putting 18 points in the scorebook with Logan Churchill joining him in double digits with 10. Joseph Lane just missed double digits with nine points, all scored on three pointers. Churchill and Joseph Schrag led Moundridge in rebounds with six.

For the Teutons, Tanner Heckel led the team with 18 points and Jace Doerksen chipped in with 11.

Wildcat coach Unrau concluded his game reflections by adding, “Wish our senior the best as they have each played a role in our 18-4 season and a share of the Heart of America league title. We will have a solid core coming back next season and I am looking forward to investing in the off-season for improving individual and team skill development. For now though, it is always tough when the season ends sooner than we had hoped.”

SCORING:     1          2          3          4          FINAL

TEUTONS      9          13       14       7          43

WILDCATS    9          14       9          8          40

INMAN TEUTONS TEAM STATS: FG 21/40; 3-PTR 3/10; FT 4/11; AST 12; REBS 18; TO 1; STL 6; BLK 0; PF 13.

INMAN TEUTONS INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS: Scoring (43 total points): Tanner Heckel – 18; Jace Doerksen – 11; Eli Brunk – 6; Kendyn Blank – 6; Zach Martisko – 2. 3-Pointers Made (3): Doerksen – 2; Heckel – 1. Assists: Heckel – 4; Doerksen, E. Brunk – 3. Rebounds: E. Brunk – 7; Heckel – 4; Martisko – 3; Doerksen – 2. Steals: Heckel, Doerksen – 1.

MOUNDRIDGE WILDCATS TEAM STATS: FG 19/59; 3-PTR 6/23; FT 8/13; AST 11; REBS 20; T0 6; STL 9; BLK 1; PF 14.

MOUNDRIDGE WILDCATS INDIVIDUAL STAT LEADERS: Scoring (40 total points): Landon Kaufman – 18; Logan Churchill – 10; Joseph Lane – 9; Henry Hecox – 2; Barrett Moddelmog – 1. 3-Pointers Made (6): Kaufman, Lane – 3. Assists: Kaufman, Moddelmog, Joseph Schrag – 3. Rebounds: Churchill, Schrag – 6; Lane – 3; Moddelmog – 2. Steals: Schrag – 4; Kaufman – 3; Churchill – 2. Blocked Shots: Churchill – 1.