ELK HORN – On Saturday afternoon, the Exira-EHK Spartans hosted another double header against the ACGC Chargers. The Spartan girls took the court first against the Chargers.
Despite these two teems seeming evenly matched, the Spartans, ranked third in the latest Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s Class 1A poll, started to show their fatigue early, but this didn’t keep them from maintaining a significant lead throughout the entire game.
The Chargers struggled to fight through a very aggressive Spartan defense, which seemed to really frustrate them. Consequently, this caused the Chargers to make crucial mistakes that cost them possession of the ball. The Spartans took every chance they could to get the ball away from the Chargers causing multiple steals that the Spartans used to their advantage to increase their lead.
The Spartans maintained control of the ball throughout most of the game, moving the ball quickly and effectively between players. Even when the Spartans were on the defense, they managed to stop ACGC from scoring. In a very impressive feat, the Chargers started the second half with better communication, better handling of the ball and continued to attempt to make plays despite consistently losing the ball to the aggressive attacks from the Spartan defense.
Saige O’Brien sank crucial free throws that kept ACGC in the fight, while Charger teammate Mersadez Richter frequently attempted and completed impressive three-pointers that shortened the ever-growing Spartan lead.
Shay Burmeister was constantly on the attack for the Spartans, making dazzling steals that flustered the Chargers. Her relationship with Macy Emgarten allowed them to make frequent, important, connections that resulted in getting more points on the board.
The Spartans took the win with a final score of 51-30.
Emgarten ended with a game-high 23 points to lead the Spartans, while Mollie Rasmussen added 12 and Quinn Grubbs eight. Emgarten had eight rebounds, Rasmussen seven. Richter had 13 to pace ACGC.
Next, the boys took the court. Both teams used time to their advantage. They actively called out plays, and successfully completed them, adding to their points one possession after the other. Each team took their time and effectively passed the ball quickly to keep the other team on their toes. It wasn’t until the second quarter when the Spartans started to inch their way to a commanding lead.
ACGC began to up their offensive attack once they started trailing behind the Spartans. They attacked the ball more frequently, and had some very impressive breakaways. They were able to take more shots because they were rebounding better than the Spartans. Despite falling behind, the Chargers were able to slowly start coming back in the second half.
The last three minutes of the game were quite the nail biter. The Chargers increased their attack at the end of the fourth quarter. Both teams would respond with points with each possession. The Chargers weren’t giving up and they found a way to take the lead when Jedd Veinkoetz nailed a three pointer with 36.9 seconds left on the clock.
Then, in the most crucial play of the game, Spartan Easton Nelson, rebounded a missed free throw, then made a connection with Derrek Kommes to take the lead once more with 20.6 seconds left.
After a quick time out, The Chargers attempt to tie again for a chance at overtime, but with a missed frantic shot by ACGC the Spartans took the win with a final score of 61-59.
The Spartans improved to 7-2, behind Cash Emgarten’s game-high 18 points. Brock Littler had a team-high 16 points to lead the Chargers (7-3). Miles Kading added 11 points and seven rebounds.