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Free throws bring Comets down
by Norv and Mary Coblentz · December 18, 2013


The West Liberty Comets boys' basketball team was defeated 47-66 by the Northeast Rebels of Goose Lake at West Liberty Dec. 6. It was the Comets' first official game of the season.

"I give a lot of credit to Northeast," West Liberty Head Coach James Laughlin said. "They're a good-shooting team. I told the kids beforehand that they're going to be shooters, and we need to make sure that we identify those shooters and get a hand up."

The Rebels made nine three-point shots in the game and fouled the Comets frequently. Unfortunately, the Comets only made 15 of 31 from the charity stripe.

"We've been a poor free throw shooting team in practice (as well), Laughlin said. "We're working on it. We haven't gotten there yet. We need to make sure we keep improving on that. It bit us in the butt tonight."

First quarter

Troy Heick faced off against Northeast's Nick Wall for the tipoff, and the tip went to Brett Becker for the Comets. A charging foul gave the ball to the Rebels, but Riley Anderson got a steal, and Kyle Miller hit a three-point shot, assist Becker. The Rebels answered with a three to tie the game at 3 to 3.

Carl Guardado made a basket and was fouled on the shot. He missed the free throw, but the Comets were up 5-3, and Becker grabbed the board. Guardado got an offensive rebound, then Miller got a putback basket for a 7-3 West Liberty lead.

The Rebels turned the ball over then got a block and a three-point shot. The next score was midway through the quarter with a bucket by Miller, assist Becker for a 9-6 score. Northeast scored a three-pointer with 3:48 on the clock to tie the game at 9-9.

The next seven points went to the Rebels on an outside two-pointer, a three-point shot, and a drive inside for a 9-16 tally. The Comets called a time out with 2:04 left in the quarter.

Cooper Koenig drove to the basket and scored for an 11-16 score. The final basket of the quarter was a very long three-pointer by the Rebels, who took a 19-11 lead into the second quarter.

"Defensively in transition, we didn't do a very good job of that sometimes," Laughlin said. "It's early on, and that showed."

Second Quarter

Northeast started the second quarter with the ball and began adding to their lead right away with a basket in the paint. The Comets fouled the Rebels, but they missed the free throw. Northeast got a defensive rebound then turned the ball over. Guardado scored inside, then got a defensive rebound. Miller drove to the basket and was fouled. He made the first of two free throws. Guardado got the rebound and was fouled on a shot, but he missed both free throws, and the Rebels got the board.

Guardado got a block, but Northeast retained possession and scored inside for a 23-14 lead. The Comets turned the ball over, but Anderson got a steal and Miller was fouled on a shot. He made the first of two free throws, and Northeast got the rebound and made another basket. Northeast was fouled again and made the first of two free throws. Heick got the rebound, but the Comets traveled. Guardado grabbed a defensive board then was fouled on a shot. He made the first free throw and Northeast got the rebound.

Guardado got a steal and a layup for a 26-18 score. Guardado got another defensive rebound, then Anderson was fouled. He made the first of two free throws, and Guardado got the rebound. Northeast got a defensive board, then Luke Seele was fouled. He made both free throws for the Comets for a 26-21 score.

Northeast scored the next eight points on a basket in the paint and two quick three-pointers for a 34-21 lead.

The Comets took a time out, then were fouled. Both free throws were missed and Northeast got the rebound. Becker got a defensive rebound, then Northeast got a steal. West Liberty fouled and Northeast missed the front end of a one-and-one. Brady Smith grabbed the rebound for the Comets. Miller was fouled on a shot with 33 seconds left in the half. He made the second of two free throws for a 34-22 score. The Rebels made one more basket for a halftime score of 36-22.

"Our kids were relaxed from the get-go," Northeast Head Coach Travis Eversmeyer said. "When they went on that big 7-3 run to start the game and then we came back and hit a couple of threes, it really relaxed our kids."

Third Quarter

It was the Comets' ball to start the second half, but neither team scored until the 6:08 mark when Northeast scored in the paint. The Comets fouled on the shot, but the Rebels missed the extra point try. Becker was fouled on a shot and made both free throws for a 38-24 score.

Guardado came up with a loose ball, but the Comets traveled. Anderson grabbed a defensive board, then Miller hit a three-pointer for a 38-27 score.

Northeast missed two free throws, then Miller hit another three-pointer for a 38-30 score. The Rebels made a putback basket, then Becker hit two more free throws for a 32-40 score. Seele got a defensive rebound, and Miller scored in the paint. The next points were two Northeast free throws at the 2:38 mark for a 42-34 score.

The Comets turned the ball over, and the Rebels scored inside. Heick scored in the paint, then Northeast made a layup. After a West Liberty foul, the Rebels hit a three-pointer after an inbounds pass for a 49-36 score. Becker answered with a three for a 49-39 score at the end of three quarters.

Fourth Quarter

The Rebels had the ball to start the fourth quarter and made a bucket in the paint right away. Becker was fouled and made both free throws for a 51-41 score. Smith got a defensive rebound, but the Comets turned the ball over, and Northeast scored again in the paint. Guardado was fouled and made the second of two free throws. Northeast hit yet another three-pointer for a 56-42 score with about five minutes to go in the game.

Miller drove to the basket and scored then the Comets got a steal and Becker a layup, closing the gap to 10 points. Northeast made a layup, then the teams traded rebounds until the Rebels scored inside with 2:25 to go. The score was 60-46. Miller drove to the basket and was fouled. He made the second of two free throws. Northeast scored the final six points of the game for a final score of 66-47.

"It could have been the jitters," Laughlin said. "We were trying to play a little faster (than we should have). Sometimes you play too fast."

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