Monday, June 18, 2018
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A sense of urgency

Strong fourth quarter lifts Swedes over Perkins County.

It’s no fluke that the Perkins County girls basketball team has made a trip to the state tournament four years in a row.

“They’re good,” said Gothenburg coach Tim Peterson, “and they got after us right away.”

But it was tenacity in the end that drove the Swedes past the Lady Plainsmen 48-42 Saturday night for Gothenburg’s first win of the season.

“I think we had a little more intensity, maybe more of a sense of urgency,” Peterson said.

That intensity ebbed and flowed throughout the game but was at a peak when it counted most.

The Swedes started with a solid 6-0 lead before Perkins County got a bucket to fall. Then the Lady Plainsmen went on a 7-0 run of their own and later finished the first quarter leading 11-7.

“Their pressure wasn’t affecting us too much,” Peterson said of Perkins County’s full court defense. “We just weren’t finding the right shot.”

Gothenburg trailed by as many as nine points in the second period before rallying to tie the score at 21-21 with 1:20 to play in the half.

A three-pointer by Kira Peterson evened the tally before Shelby Eggleston was fouled on a layup and made her free throw to round out the first half with a 24-21 Swede lead.

“Defensively I was happy with the effort,” Peterson said, “but we’re still giving up way too many easy buckets.”

The third quarter was a different story for the Swedes. A host of Gothenburg turnovers gave Perkins County just enough momentum to gain a 35-29 advantage at the end of three periods.

“The third quarter was a disaster,” Peterson said. “We had nine turnovers at the half and I think we probably had that many in the third quarter alone.”

But the tide began to turn for the Swedes midway through the fourth period.

Kira Peterson hit a three-pointer with 3:20 to play and Ali Abramson followed on the next possession with a long bucket of her own to put the Swedes up 46-42.

Max and Abramson sealed the deal, each making one free throw in the final seconds of the game.

Max finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds.

“I knew Emily could dominate inside if we could get her the ball,” the coach said. “And when they triple teamed her or put a box-and-one on her, we had other girls step up and score.”

Kira Peterson added 13 points, including three three-pointers.

The Swedes (1-3) travel to Holdrege (2-1) on Friday for what the coach calls one of the toughest games to date.

“Holdrege is like us in that they’re not real big,” Peterson said. “But they’ve got probably the best inside player in the area in Paige Hasty. It will be key that we contain her.”

Gothenburg will also have to continue to cut down on turnovers and eliminate the third-quarter melt-downs.

“Holdrege likes to do a lot of running,” Peterson said. “They will try to jump on us early.”

Tip-off of the girls game is set for 6 p.m.

Gothenburg hosts Minden on Tuesday in the final game before the holiday break. Varsity action begins at 5:30 p.m.