• Keith Hjelle

Victory Is Elusive in Charger Losses to Woodward-Granger


Victory can be such an elusive thing. Sometimes its like trying to hold water in your hands-- it gradually slips away. Sometimes it's like a squirmy puppy that can't be contained and suddenly breaks free. For the Charger girls' basketball team last night's 37-29 loss to Woodward-Granger was like the former, while the boys last second 52-51 defeat was similar to the latter.

The boys' played what was arguably one of their best games of the season, as they shot 53% from the field, including 10 of 19 on three point tries. With shooting like that, our team is supposed to win! But that puppy just wouldn't stay put.

The Chargers opened the game with a 14 point first quarter and led 14-11 after the first eight minutes as they hit on four treys. The hot shooting from beyond the arc extended into the second quarter as four more three pointers by the Chargers helped to build a 32-20 halftime lead. With Quynton Younker hitting three long balls, Bryce Littler and Caden Wardyn connecting on two, and Quenton Spack nailing one in the half, Victory seemed within the Chargers' grasp.

Woodward-Granger made a run after the intermission and closed the gap to seven at 42-35 after the third quarter. Spack and Noah Nelson each hit from beyond the arc to account for six of the Chargers' eight points in the quarter. The puppy had stated to squirm.

Halfway through the final frame the Chargers still held a tenuous 46-41 lead, but the Hawks were making their move as they slowly closed the gap. With forty eight ticks remaining on the clock it was a one point lead, 48-47, for the Chargers. Woodward-Granger took the lead with twenty two seconds remaining at 50-49 on two free throws. Charger senior Collin Stowe was fouled with 8.7 seconds remaining and made both free throws to give the Chargers a 51-50 lead. Could we hang on to the puppy? After inbounding the ball, W-G called a timeout near half court. With 5.9 seconds to go the ball wound up in the hands of Kaya Bowlsby who drove toward the basket and put up a 12 foot shot in the middle of the lane that went off the bank board and through the net as time expired. The puppy had broken free and had run away.

Ironically the three pointer that had been so kind to the Chargers for three quarters was as elusive as Victory, with ACGC failing to score from beyond the arc in the final eight minutes. Three Chargers scored in double figures on the night, with Wardyn accounting for 14 points and Littler and Younker each netting 10. Quenton Spack scored 8 points. Five different Chargers scored three point baskets on the night. Stowe led in rebounds with 6 while Wardyn, Littler and Younker each snared 5. Nelson dished out a team high 7 assists.

The girls' game did not produce the drama of the boys' game, but the Charger girls were within striking distance for the entire game. They just couldn't hold the water in their hands long enough to secure the win. After a 7-7 first quarter tie, the Chargers failed to score a field goal in the second stanza and fell behind 18-10 at halftime. Despite Lauren Embleton's three pointer being the only ACGC field goal in the third quarter, the Chargers had closed to within 22-16 after three quarters.

The Hawks maintained that six point lead throughout most of the fourth quarter, although the Chargers got within five at 32-27 after Jadeyn Carrick's field goal with just under two minutes to go. But the water just would not stay put in the Charger' hands as they missed on eight of nine field goal attempts over the last two minutes of the game, and Victory slipped away.

Sub par shooting plagued the Chargers throughout the game as they were 3 of 23 from the field in the first half and 6 of 26 in the second half for an overall percentage of 18%. Had they shot their season average of 29%, they would have score another five field goals to add another ten points to their total. One can't assume it would have meant a win, but ...

Jadeyn Carrick led ACGC in scoring with 9 points, while Savana Fuller grabbed 7 boards for the Chargers. Genevieve Hoover and Carrick each snared 6 rebounds. Embleton and Sierra O'Brien both had three steals.

Four seniors played their final game on the Charger hard court, with Mady Smith the lone senior remaining on the girls' team. (Madison Berger sustained a torn ACL before the season started and missed the entire campaign.) On the boy's side, Quenton Spack, Collin Stowe, and Caden Wardyn all bid farewell to the home court.

Last night's games concluded the regular season, with tournament time coming up next. The Charger girls will travel to Avoca to play AHSTW this Saturday, February 10 at 7 PM. The boys will play Woodward-Granger again in its first round district game at Woodward on Monday, February 12. Game time is scheduled for 8 PM.

Girls' score by quarter Boys' score by quarter

W-G 7 11 4 15--37 W-G 11 9 15 17--52

ACGC 7 7 6 13--29 ACGC 14 18 10 9--51

Box Score REB Box Score

FG 3Pt FT O-D AST STL TP FG 3PT FT O-D AST STL TP

Fuller 1-6 0-1 2-4 4-3 0 2 4 Sargent 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Laabs 0-7 0-3 0-0 1-3 1 0 0 Nelson 1-3 1-1 0-2 0-1 7 2 3

Smith 1-7 1-4 0-0 2-3 0 1 3 Spack 3-9 2-7 1-2 1-1 3 2 8

Emb'lton 2-4 1-3 0-0 1-2 0 3 5 Byers 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

JHoover 0-3 0-1 0-1 1-1 2 0 0 Littler 4-6 2-4 0-1 1-4 2 0 10

O'Brien 1-6 1-2 0-2 1-2 2 3 3 Wardyn 6-10 2-2 0-0 0-5 3 1 14

Carrick 3-8 0-1 3-7 3-3 0 1 9 Younker 3-6 3-5 1-2 0-5 1 0 10

KyYoung 0-2 0-0 2-2 1-0 0 0 2 Stowe 2-3 0-0 2-3 1-5 0 0 6

GHoover 1-6 1-5 0-0 3-3 0 2 3


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