Cozad takes rubber match
Gothenburg falls in C1-11 first round.
LEXINGTON—Regular season and conference games are important. They just don’t hold the same weight for high school basketball teams as a sub-district matchup.
Gothenburg and Cozad girls squared off twice this year prior to Monday night’s C1-11 sub-district game in Lexington.
The Haymakers won the regular-season game 41-35 and the Swedes eliminated Cozad in the first round of the Southwest Conference tournament 38-28.
So the rubber match in the sub-district meant not only bragging rights but a chance to move on.
“Cozad came out and set the tone early,” said Swede coach Tim Peterson. “They played with more intensity, with a fire in their eyes.”
That inferno led to a 51-32 victory over Gothenburg, ending the Swedes’ season.
“It was obvious,” Peterson said. “They wanted to win the game worse than we did.
The Swedes got off to a sluggish start and despite a couple of small runs, things never really got any better.
Cozad had a 16-8 lead with less than a minute to play in the first quarter and finished the period up 16-10.
“Surprisingly, instead of playing us zone like they did the last two games, Cozad played man-to-man and they did a pretty got job of isolating Emily (Max),” Peterson said.
Even Max struggled to score in the second period as the Swedes put only five points on the board. Gothenburg trailed 30-15 at the break.
“About midway through the second quarter, you could see it in the Cozad girls’ eyes,” Peterson said. “They were going to put that game away.”
After halftime, Peterson was hoping for a boost in intensity but it never came.
The struggle to get the ball through the hoop intensified further in the third period as only four points went on the board.
“You know they’re not trying to miss,” Peterson said of Gothenburg’s miserable shooting, “but sometimes it feels that way.”
The Swedes were 10-of-57 from the field and 0-of-15 from three-point range for the game shooting a mere 17.5% overall.
“Poor shooting has been our nemesis for the last six or seven games,” Peterson said. “Making baskets is contageous and so is missing. We haven’t shot well as a team for a long time.”
As she’s been all season, Max ended her career as the team’s leader with 16 points and nine rebounds.
“It’s a downer way to end the year but it’s over and now we all have to move on,” Peterson said.
The Swedes finish with a 9-12 record.
Cozad, at 8-13, advanced to play No. 1 seeded Southern Valley (18-2) Tuesday night.