They always say “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”.
In the C1-6 Sub-District basketball tournament, all it left the Boone Central Cardinals was heartbreak.
After knocking off Class C1 state-rated Columbus Scotus in an unusual 1st round play-in game and nipping #1 C1-6 seed David City in the semi-final round, Boone Central lost an excruciating 53-49 decision to North Bend Thursday in the sub-district championship game at Columbus High School.
The exciting, nip-and-tuck final was a fitting conclusion to a wide-open C1-6 tourney that featured three thrillers – all involving the Cardinals.
Although many felt they might be the two best teams in the field, Boone Central and Omaha World-Herald #7 Scotus, both 13-7, were seeded 5th and 6th and opened the tournament with the Cards scoring a 42-36 victory (Albion News, Feb. 25 edition).
Boone Central advanced to face top-seeded David City the following night, holding on for a 42-41 win after building a 12-point lead at the end of three quarters.
The weary Cardinals gave North Bend, a 59-40 semi-final winner over Twin River, all it could handle in the title tilt before the Tigers ended BC’s season with a series of clutch plays down the stretch.
Boone Central finishes 2008-09 with a 15-8 record, winning 13 of its final 15 games after a rough start.
“This crew showed a lot of character throughout the season and, again, in this tournament,” commented Card Coach Dan Zoucha. “They were ‘behind the 8 ball’ several times and found a way to be successful.
“Our seniors did a great job leading and demonstrated the qualities we want in our players at Boone Central.
“While the season ended in a fashion that was disappointing to them, they have so much to be proud of in what they accomplished,” Zoucha praised.
N. Bend 53, Cardinals 49
The North Bend Tigers, 18-4, found just enough of an edge to slip by Boone Central in the C1-6 sub-district final despite a phenomenal scoring effort by Cardinal senior Ryan Shotkoski.
Shotkoski poured in 34 points Thursday, but North Bend used balanced scoring – five players between 14 and 7 points – and received clutch contributions from several complimentary players in the fourth quarter to secure a berth in the C1-3 district championship game.
It was a game in which Boone Central always seemed to be fighting uphill.
“We did not get off to the start we wanted against North Bend. After we settled down a little, we got on track and got even by the end of the first quarter,” noted Zoucha. “The second quarter was dictated by their ability to get points off offensive rebounds. They only had three, but they got four points off them and, in a game as tight as this, that was a pretty big deal.
“The third quarter was by far our best – we rebounded better and our defense caused them problems. We were able to get close in the fourth period, but were never able to take the lead.
“We had a couple of chances, but we just seemed to run out of gas.”
B. Central 14 6 17 12 – 49
N. Bend 14 14 9 16 – 53
BC scoring: Shotkoski 34, Zoucha 9, Kunzman 6
Rebound leaders: Zoucha 14, Olson 5, Shotkoski 5
Assist leaders: Shotkoski 2, Kunzman 2, Zoucha 2, Olson 2
Cardinals 42, D. City 41
The Boone Central Cardinals were left checking their fingernails following the C1-6 sub-district semi-final Tuesday.
Boone Central, after building sizeable leads, held on for dear life in the final minutes to claim a 42-41 decision over top-seeded David City (14-4).
“We could tell we might be tiring in the final couple of minutes from a tough game the night before,” noted Coach Zoucha. “However, we never panicked in the final few possessions. We did a great job of not allowing them to get the shot they wanted at the end.
“The guys showed a great will to finish strong.”
The harrowing finish came after Boone Central controlled play for much of the first three quarters and built a 12-point lead entering the final frame.
“We got off to a nice start. We were able to get up and down the floor with pretty good efficiency,” said Zoucha. “We were able to get up by 12 points, but on our first five possessions of the fourth quarter, we did not take care of the ball and took some shots that were really not what we were looking for.”
B. Central 14 11 13 4 – 42
D. City 6 10 10 15 – 41
BC scoring: Shotkoski 22, Kunzman 6, Dozler 4, Zoucha 4, Olson 4, Hupp 2
Rebound leaders: Olson 11, Zoucha 10, Kunzman 5
Assist leaders: Liss 1, Shotkoski 1, Kunzman 1
Steal leaders: Shotkoski 6, Olson 2.
Complete Details in Print Edition of Albion News.