Free throws down the stretch boost Brady boys
There may have been a few first-game jitters for Brady players with little varsity experience but the Eagles overcame the nervousness and held on to beat Wauneta-Palisade 46-39 in the season opener at home Friday night.
After a slow start, it came down to free throws for the Eagles in the fourth quarter.
Wauneta-Palisade jumped to an 8-2 lead midway through the first quarter as Brady created but missed several easy shots under the basket.
“We did a decent job of handling their pressure and even creating some frustration with our own press,” said coach David Jacobs. “What we’ve got to work on is making those close shots in traffic with a little contact. Those are tough points to give away.”
Both teams showed a little first game rust as buckets were few and far between in the first half.
The Broncos led 8-10 at the end of the first period and were up 17-16 at halftime.
Brady got down as many as six points in the second period but Jacobs said a switch to man-to-man defense pulled them back in the game and kept the score close throughout most of the second half.
“We know we’ve got some good ball players,” Jacobs said. “The unknown for us was how good Wauneta-Palisade would be.”
The coach attributed many of the Eagles’ mistakes to first-game nerves and said the longer they played, the better it got.
Midway through the third period the Eagles managed a 25-21 advantage but the Broncos never let the lead get to big.
Heading into the final stanza, Brady led 28-27 and with four minutes to go in the game the score was tied 37-37.
The difference came at the free throw line, especially in the closing minute.
Junior guard Zach Mann was 6-for-6 from the line in the fourth quarter including four in the final 30 seconds.
He finished as Brady’s leading scorer with 15 points.
Sawyer Burke and Tyler Egenberger also contributed in double figures with 13 points each.
“I was pleased with our defense and the kids did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball,” Jacobs said. “I thought we played pretty well for the first game.”
The Eagles will travel to Paxton on Friday to face the pre-season ranked Tigers.
Jacobs said he expects to see a stingy 1-3-1 defense from the Class D-1 No. 6 Tigers and that Brady will need strong contribution from players across the board to win.
The Eagles host Cody-Kilgore on Saturday with tipoff scheduled for approximately 6:30 p.m.