Coming into the sub-state semi-final game on Thursday night facing a team they had previously lost to by 25 when that team was missing their best player, the Pratt High School Greenbacks had to hope they got off to a good start, and that Andale would be cold.
Unfortunately for PHS, exactly the opposite occurred. The Frogs were off the mark on their first couple of possessions, and the Indians hit most of their initial shots, including some from long range. It was 5-0 rather quickly, and eventually it was 20-0 Andale before Pratt finally tallied their first points—a 3-ball by Garret Smith at the 2:00 mark of the first period.
“We weren’t very patient in the first quarter,” Greenback head coach David Swank explained. “We missed a couple of shots, and they made theirs. That made it 5-0, and so the basket got bigger for them and smaller for us.”
The long ball by Smith would represent Pratt’s only scoring in the opening stanza, and the score stood 23-3 Indians after Q1. The good news, if there was any for Pratt, was that the last 3 quarters saw the Greenbacks playing relatively even with Andale—only getting outscored 40-33 over the final 3 frames. So it’s not as though the Frogs were completely outclassed, but the initial 20- point deficit was too much to overcome.
“The first quarter was definitely the difference in the game,” Coach Swank observed. “Andale has good players, and good players come to play. They were hitting their shots right from the opening tip-off.”
The Greenbacks had a great spurt to open the 2nd quarter, trying to get back into the game. They went on an 8-0 run featuring a pair of buckets from Skylar Dean, a hoop from Christian Kurz and a transition bucket by Chase Hageman. Andale got their ship righted, however, and outscored Pratt 15-5 over the final minutes of the half. 38-16 Andale.
The third quarter was a rather low-scoring affair with Andale playing deliberately on offense with the big lead, and sagging into the lane to thwart PHS’ attempts to penetrate. Heading to the final period it was 48-22 Andale and the only mystery left was whether the running clock would get tripped.
Senior Skylar Dean, playing his last basketball game as a Greenback, tried hard to prevent that from happening, scoring 11 straight points for Pratt. By the 3 minute mark however, the Andale lead had stretched to 61-30 and both coaches emptied their benches for the final three running minutes. At the final buzzer, the score was 63-36 Andale.
“I was proud of our kids,” Swank said. “We had a really good effort in quarters 2,3 and 4. Andale just hit a lot of shots against our zone in the early going and that was the game.”
Page 2 of 2 - Andale will face Ulysses in the sub-state finals Saturday night while the Greenback season comes to an end with a record of 7-15.
Pratt 3 13 6 14 36
Andale 23 15 10 15 63
Smith 8; Skylar Dean 18; Hageman 2; Kurz 3; Kahmeyer 2; Ramos 2; Bartel 1