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BDS Wins MUDECAS Tourney

Bruning-Davenport/Shickley spent the past week in Beatrice participating in the 86th annual MUDECAS Basketball Tournament that features 16 schools ranging in size from class D-2 to class C-1.  Eight of the teams are bracketed by the coach's votes into the A division and eight are placed in the B division.  This season, the Eagles ended up as the No. 3 seed in the A division and played sixth seeded Exeter-Milligan in a first round game.
The game started with E-M getting off to a good start and BDS struggling a little bit with shot selection as the Timberwolves led at the end of the first quarter 12-9.
“We really took some time to adjust to their physical style and they did a nice job of going to their big post,” BDS head coach Fred Kluck said.  “We did a decent job of adjusting to what they were getting early and made it a little tougher the second quarter.”
BDS took a seven point lead into halftime with seven Eagles scoring in the first half.  Ben Elznic and Kamron Ficken came off the bench to score four points apiece in the second period to provide a little momentum.  As the game moved through the third quarter, BDS added three points to their lead and Riley Tegtmeier and Grant Norder combined to go 7-for-10 in the 4th period from the free throw line to seal a 51-40 victory down the stretch. Tegtmeier led the way with 10 points and five assists.  Grant Norder added a team- high 12 rebounds.
In the MUDECAS Semifinal game on Thursday, January 15, BDS faced the second-seeded Nebraska City Lourdes Knights– a team that knocked off the Eagles in the district final one season ago.
“We don’t match up with 6-8 player very well,” said Kluck about the NCL center.  “We had some things in place to slow him down, but it really helped when he picked up two early fouls.”
Despite that, the Eagles struggled to find the Knights' shooters and gave up four 3- point shots that helped NCL lead at the half 20-19.
“We really shot poorly from the free throw line for some reason,” Kluck said.  “Normally that’s one of our strengths, but we just didn’t have our focus from the line tonight.  If we hit some of those, we would have pretty surely had the lead at halftime.”
The Knights added to their lead in the third period and the NCL center's return made a difference, as the Eagles entered the fourth quarter trailing 37-32.  The fourth stanza saw a turn of events as BDS finally locked down on some Knight 3-point shooters and Chris Rohr stepped up big on defense against NCL’s center despite giving up more than half a foot in size.
“Defensively, we executed a look we had really been trying to get into all game,” Kluck said.  “I thought the guys really stepped up and got serious about covering and limiting them to one shot.”
In addition, some shots started to fall and one possession in particular really changed momentum.  With the Eagles leading by one, Riley Tegtmeier caught an outlet pass and attacked the lane on the Knight's end of the court.  Cody Garland settled into the corner and caught a perfect pass that allowed him to knock down a 3-pointer to give BDS a four point lead and from there the game was settled at the free throw line with the Eagles pulling away for a 55-41 win.  
“That shot by Cody was big,” Kluck said.  “It changed the whole complexion of the game and gave us a chance to control some clock down the stretch.”
Riley, Grant, and Cody led the way in scoring with 15, 12 and 10 points, respectively with Riley adding four assists and Grant grabbing eight rebounds.  Chris Rohr had six points with Jayden Otto and Kamron Ficken scoring three each.  Kale Kleinschmidt, Sam Christensen, and Ben Elznic each added a bucket to the total.
On Saturday, 12-1 BDS faced off with undefeated Freeman (14-0).  This was the first time BDS has advanced to the MUDECAS championship game since the co-op was formed five seasons ago.  Last season, the Eagles girls’ squad won the tournament for the first time and the boys were looking to try to match that accomplishment this season.  
The Falcons came in led by a pair of high scoring guards in Isaac Frerichs and Calan Sedlacek who between them average 30 plus points a game.  The Eagles countered with a more balanced attack and hoped to try to slow the pair down with Sam Christensen and Cody Garland doing the lion’s share of trying to cover them.
“Sam and Cody generally get some of these kinds of defensive assignments and tonight they held this pair to just 20 points 10 or so under their average,” said Coach Kluck.
The game started slowly with the two teams missing some early looks and the first 1⁄4 ended with the Falcons leading 9-6.  “We were both just trying to get a feel for the game, “stated  Kluck.  “Neither one of us really took the reins that first 1⁄4.”
In the second 1⁄4 senior Grant Norder really took over, scoring 10 of his team leading 14 points on solid three point shooting and aggressive drives to the basket.  “We were just kind of waiting for someone to take the lead and Grant stepped up,” said Kluck.  “We really also got a valuable boost from our bench as the second unit came in and played really fundamental defense, crashed the boards hard and added a couple baskets while giving the starters some valuable rest,” he said referring to Ben Elznic, TJ Krupicka, Jayden Otto, Kamron Ficken, and Kale Kleinschmidt who helped provide a 20-18 lead at the break.  “They’re so valuable to what we do and they do it without a lot of recognition.  Their attitude about their role is a real lift for our team and our success so far this year.”
The third 1⁄4 saw the teams go back and forth with the Eagles adding 2 points to their lead entering the 4th up 30-26.  In the fourth 1⁄4 however, the Falcons showed the reason the hadn’t lost a ball game and stormed back to take a late 37 to 34 lead with just 5 seconds remaining on the clock.  The Eagles Chris Rohr was sent to the line where, despite the pressure, and a very loud Freeman crowd, he buried 2 big free throws to pull his team within one.  After a timeout a quick foul sent Frerichs to the line where he was 7-8 on the night.  He missed the first and made the second leaving the door open just a little.  Following another timeout that left just 4 seconds in the game the Eagles executed a last second play where Grant Norder hit Jayden Otto with a perfectly executed pass to half court and Jayden caught Riley Tegtmeier in stride for a 25 foot game winning three point shot at the buzzer to complete the wild finish and to knock Freeman from the ranks of the unbeaten.  “ It took a little luck,” commented Coach Kluck, “on the other hand, win or lose, I was so proud of the way the boys hung in there when things seemed to be getting away from them.  This will be a finish I’m pretty sure they’ll never forget.”