Blazers slow out of the gates in Sidney


SIDNEY, Neb. – The Torrington High School boys’ basketball team was slow out of the gates Monday afternoon against the McCook (Nebraska) Bison, falling behind 11-1 in the first four and a half minutes.

The lone point came less than 50 seconds into the game courtesy of a free throw from senior Deagan Keith. It wasn’t until four minutes later which junior Ryan Baker scored the team’s lone field goal of the quarter.

McCook kept the pressure on Torrington the entire first half, leading 29-13 at halftime.

“There is a reason why they are 5-1 coming in,” THS coach Logan Barker said. “I want our guys to see good competition. That’s a really good basketball, and I think they are going to do very well this year.”

Barker said it’s something the team can learn from.

“Watching them come out with energy is something we can adapt for ourselves,” Barker said. “It’s a great way for us to deal with adversity because that team is better than most of the teams we’ll see in our conference.”

Coming out of the break, the Blazers managed to chip away at the deficit, cutting the McCook lead to 31-20 behind another Baker bucket and a pair of scores from senior Kieser Wolfe.

The 11-point deficit was as close as THS came the remainder of the game.

“That comes to the fact we are willing to battle back. We need to battle for four quarters, not just three,” Barker said. “If we start out the game without a 11-1 run, maybe we have a little more of a chance. Again, that comes down to us being ready to play higher-level competition.”

McCook answered with a 19-0 run, spanning into the fourth quarter, pushing the Bison lead to 50-30 with seven minutes to go in the game.

Baker slowed the McCook run, but with less than six minutes left in the game, there wasn’t much Torrington could do.

The Blazers were led by Wolfe with 19 points, and Baker added eight.

The loss dropped Torrington to the consolation side of the bracket and faced the loser of either Gordon-Rushville or Chase County on Tuesday afternoon. The Sidney Holiday Tournament wraps up Wednesday evening.

“We are looking forward to it,” Barker said. “We want the challenge. If we continue to play good teams, it will make us better.”

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