Boys breeze through sub-district
One step away from state tourney
COZAD—The Brady boys basketball team made winning look easy last week during the D2-9 sub-district at Cozad.
The Eagles improved to 19-3 on the season with a 69-33 victory over Eustis-Farnam in the opening round and a 71-57 win against Anselmo-Merna in the finals.
“You know, every team goes into the season with the goal of making it to the state tournament,” said Eagle coach David Jacobs. “For this team, that goal was legitimate.”
With the D2-9 sub-district win, the Eagles advanced to play Hayes Center in the D2-5 district final Tuesday night at Hershey.
Results will be available in next week’s edition of The Times.
The winner earns a ticket to state. Because of the way the Nebraska School Activities Association’s power points ended up, the D2-5 loser will have no chance at a wild card.
Taking care of business
Facing an opponent with a 1-18 record can make it difficult to get pumped up for a game.
Jacobs said the Eagles knew they just needed to take care of business against a struggling Eustis-Farnam team in the opening round of the sub-district.
“We had a job to do and we got it done,” he said.
The Eagles opened the game on fire, hitting four three-pointers in the first four minutes of the game.
The Knights finished the first period scoreless as Brady jumped out to a 23-0 lead at the end of the quarter.
“There’s a point where you start to feel bad for them,” Jacobs said of the Knights. “But I can’t tell my kids not to play.”
Brady took a 38-16 advantage into halftime which was never threatened.
Zach Mann and Sawyer Burke each earned a double-double. Mann scored 18 points and pulled down 16 rebounds while Burke had 18 points and 11 boards.
Eagles handle A-M
Jacobs figured beating Anselmo-Merna in the sub-district final would be a little tougher task for the Eagles.
“I knew they could play good ball at times,” the coach said. “They’ve got some pretty good athletes.”
But the Coyotes were no match for the Eagles once they got on a roll, despite nine three-pointers from Anselmo-Merna.
The Coyotes got off to a quick start, leading 5-2 after a minute and a half of play.
The score stayed close through the first period as the Eagles managed a 22-16 advantage after one quarter.
Brady was able to widen the gap in the second quarter as Burke scored 15 of his career high 34 points in the period.
Burke opened the second quarter with back-to-back three-point plays earned the old-fashioned way.
He was fouled on consecutive lay-ups and sank the foul shots to boost Brady to 28-16 with seven minutes left until halftime.
“That was the best half of basketball I think we’ve played all year,” Jacobs said. “We knew we’d need to come out and play well and we really got up and down the floor.”
The coach hoped to keep the throttle open after halftime but his Eagles suffered a little let-down in the third period.
A-M out-scored the Eagles 15-7 in the quarter but still never threatened the lead.
“After playing so well in the first half, it’s pretty hard to come out in the third quarter and do it again,” Jacobs said. “But the kids never lost their confidence to win.”
Burke added four rebounds and four assists to his 34 points to lead the Eagles. Mann chipped in 12 points with seven rebounds, four blocks and four assists.
With the win, Brady earned a rematch with Hayes Center. The Cardinals handed the Eagles one of their three losses during the regular season.
“We’ll approach this game a little different,” Jacobs said. “We did a good job of shutting down their main scorers last time but a couple of other kids hurt us. We’ll play more straight-up man-to-man and contest every shot.”
Regardless of the outcome, Jacobs said everyone has to be proud of this team for what it has accomplished.
“Win or lose, they’ll leave it all on the floor,” the coach said. “You can’t ask for much more than that.”