The Skyline Thunderbirds stayed focused and recorded a 63-58 victory over Medicine Lodge in the 54 Classic Tournament in Cunningham.
Although they were banged up and bruised, the Skyline Thunderbirds fought off a late game surge by Medicine Lodge and came away with a 63- 58 victory in the 54 Classic Basketball Tournament Jan. 22 at Cunningham.
The Thunderbirds got off to a slow start and were behind 6-0 early as they missed easy shots at the start of the game. At the end of the first quarter, Skyline was behind 11-9.
Medicine Lodge kept up the pressure in the second quarter but Skyline took the lead, 26-24 at the half.
"They (Medicine Lodge) are a pretty solid team. They have a lot of kids that like to compete and they just don't like to give up," said Skyline Coach Kenny Eddy.
The T-Birds went on a scoring streak in the third quarter and opened up a double digit lead but Medicine Lodge came roaring back and hit three 3-pointers in a row. Skyline still held a two point lead at the end of the third quarter, 43-41, thanks to a Ryan Adams 3-pointer at the end of the quarter, Eddy said.
In the fourth quarter, Medicine Lodge took a one-point lead with about a minute and a half left on the clock. Then Skyline got the lead back and for the rest of the game it was a back and forth battle. Every time Skyline scored, Medicine Lodge come right back.
The T-Birds ran the offense for 30 seconds before Sam Fisher sank a 3-pointer and the team got a defensive stop. Made free throws closed it out for a 63-58 T-Bird victory.
Team free throws were much improved. They hit 16 of 22 for over 70 percent and any misses were spread out.
"We were pretty confident there," Eddy said. “Overall, I thought they were really patient. We stayed out of foul trouble. We need to do that more often.”
Skyline is now 12-1 for the season, but the coach said there was room for improvement.
"We have to get better defensively. Sometimes we just lose focus and we end up giving up easy looks," Eddy said. "We have to be engaged on the defensive side the whole time."
The team is dealing with injuries and it keeps adding up. Colby Shriver had to leave the game with a concussion after he had contact under the basket and came down hard. Shriver didn't attend school Wednesday and will not play in the next two games. Ryan Adams' role on the team will increase with Shriver out of the game.
Steve Fisher played with a broken nose and wore a mask but still scored 22 points. Nic Montgomery and Sam Fisher both played with sore ankles and Cade Swonger is battling strep throat.
"Just about every person is dealing with something at this time," Eddy said.
He said he told the team to be prepared because team members are falling like flies right now. There's very little time for the T-Birds to get over their injuries. They play in the 54 Classic Champi-nship game at 8 p.m. on Jan. 25 against Attica.