- Keith Hjelle
A Minute Makes a Difference in Charger Boys' Loss to Woodward-Granger, 54-40
An adverse momentum swing in an athletic contest can be difficult for young athletes to recover from, as it often results in a loss of confidence and, in the end, perhaps a loss in the contest itself. So it seemed for the ACGC boys' basketball team last night in the quarterfinal round of the district tournament, as a third quarter momentum swing in favor of Woodward-Granger saw the Chargers go from a 30-29 lead with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter to a 40-30 deficit by the end of the quarter. The Hawks went on to claim the victory by a 54-40 margin.
In a low scoring first half the Chargers shot a hefty 52% on 10 makes out of 19 field goal tries, while the ACGC defense held W-G to 24% shooting on 6 of 20 from the floor. ACGC held 8-5 and 25-20 leads at the first and second quarter breaks. Four treys in the half helped the Charger cause with Bryce Littler nailing two and Caden Wardyn and Quynton Younker each hitting one. The Chargers went 6 of 7 from the floor over the last five minutes of the half.
The third quarter belonged to W-G, as they scored twenty points while holding ACGC to just six. The last Charger lead was at 30-29 on a Littler basket at the 1:45 mark. Over the last 1:14 of the third stanza the Hawks scored eleven consecutive points, including a trio of treys, to take a ten point lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Chargers shot a nice 60% in the third quarter, but only managed five shots in the entire quarter. The Chargers never got closer than ten points in the final frame as the Hawks padded their lead from the free throw line to seal the win. A pesky W-G press caused numerous Charger turnovers, especially in the second half.
The Chargers shot a better percentage than the Hawks for the game, 46% to 40%, but were outscored from the free throw line 10-0. ACGC shot only three free throws on the night. W-G also bested ACGC from beyond the arc, making ten treys compared to six for the local cagers.
Littler was the lone Charger in double figures with 13 points, while Caden Wardyn added 9 and Quenton Spack 7. Younker led in rebounds with 7 and Wardyn had 6. Littler had 3 assists.
Coach Jake Mohling offered these thoughts following the loss. "I wish we could replay the last minute of the third quarter. The boys fought hard and played well for the majority of the game, but in that minute it felt like the game was decided. I think we were up one and then all of a sudden we were down ten. We couldn't get back after that.
"Overall, I'm proud of the boys. It was a tough season, but they never quit; they never bickered and they came to get better every day. I'm very proud of the young men that they are."
The three seniors on the team--Caden Wardyn, Collin Stowe, and Quenton Spack--all of whom contributed significantly to the team, have played their final game for the Chargers. On behalf of all Charger fans, thanks to this trio and best wishes to each of you.
Score by quarters
ACGC 8 16 6 10--40
W-G 5 15 20 14--54
Box score REB
FG 3Pt FT O-D AST STL TP
Sargent 0-1 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 0
Nelson 1-4 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 2 2
Spack 3-7 1-3 0-0 2-2 0 2 7
Byars 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Wheatley 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Littler 5-9 3-7 0-2 1-2 3 1 13
Wardyn 4-9 1-3 0-0 0-6 1 0 9
Younker 2-3 1-2 0-0 1-6 1 1 5
Stowe 2-4 0-0 0-1 1-2 0 1 4