• Keith Hjelle

Charger Comeback Falls Just Short, Drop 59-56 Decision to CAM


If any Charger fans left the CAM gymnasium at halftime of last night's boys' game in Anita, you could hardly blame them. After sitting through the girls' 80-26 drubbing at the hands of the Cougars, and then witnessing the Charger boys' lackluster first half performance, it would seem they were justified in going out for a nice meal. But they left the gym to soon.

Trailing 32-13 at the half and 47-28 after three quarters, it appeared the game was over, with only the final score to be determined. Bryce Littler had other ideas. The leading Charger scorer, with a fourteen points points per game average, had been held scoreless in the first half and had just two points on a pair of free throws after three quarters.

All of that changed in the last eight minutes of the game when Littler and the Chargers made a remarkable comeback that fell just short when a final three point attempt missed the mark and the Chargers lost by a 59-56 score.

Down by nineteen points, 47-28, going into the final quarter, the Chargers still trailed by the same margin at 51-32 after Noah Nelson made one of two free throws with just over five minutes left in the game. With 4:30 showing on the clock, Littler went on a rampage, scoring the next eight points in the game to close the margin to 51-40. After a free throw by Quynton Younker to make it 51-41, Littler again took center stage and added another eight points to the Charger total, closing the gap to 53-49 with two minutes to go.

With two Cougar starters sitting on the bench, ACGC was within striking distance. Plenty of time to pull it out. After two CAM free throws Miles Kading nailed a three ball to make it 55-52. When Littler scored with :37 showing on the clock, the deficit was two at 56-54. Three Cougar charity tosses made it a 59-54 ball game. After Littler was fouled with 5.6 seconds to go, he hit both free throws to close it to 59-56.

When a Cougar player missed two free throws and the Chargers rushed the ball up the floor, a timeout was called with the clock reading 0:02.4--less than two and a half seconds to go. The inbounds pass went to Younker who put up a desperation shot from twenty seven feet that hit the glass but fell to the floor and it was over. The remarkable comeback and the sterling fourth quarter performance by Littler fell just short of taking the prize.

It is a difficult pill to swallow, but it sure was fun to watch for fans and had to be fun for the players to be involved in. The twenty eight point fourth quarter by the Chargers matched their total through the first three quarters. The question now is this: Which team is the real Charger team? Time will tell. Winnable games lie ahead.

Littler finished with 22 points to lead the Chargers (including a perfect 11 for 11 from the free throw line), with Eli Kading next at 9. Younker hauled down 10 rebounds. No one had more than two assists, and Noah Nelson led in steals with 3. This was one of the poorer shooting nights from the floor for ACGC, as the team made just 16 of 56 shots for 29%, including only 4 of 27 three pointers (15%!). Free throw shooting, on the other hand, was a respectable 70% on 20 makes in 29 tries.

If there were folks who left the game to have that nice meal, I hope it was a good one, because

they missed a great Charger basketball moment! Go Chargers!

Little time to rest for the team, as undefeated Van Meter comes to town for a makeup game on Monday, with West Central Valley coming in on Tuesday. In both cases the girls' game will tip off at 6 PM with the boys to follow.

Score by quarter:

ACGC 4 9 15 28--56

CAM 18 14 15 12--59

Box score: REB

FG 3PT FT O-D AST STL TP

EKading 3-6 1-4 2-2 2-2 0 0 9

Sargent 1-4 1-4 0-0 0-3 1 0 3

Nelson 2-12 0-6 4-8 1-2 1 3 8

Marsh 1-4 0-1 1-2 0-1 0 0 3

MKading 2-6 1-4 0-0 1-2 1 2 5

Byers 0-2 0-0 0-2 0-2 0 1 0

Pauley 0-1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Littler 5-12 1-6 11-11 5-4 2 0 22

Younker 2-7 0-2 2-4 1-9 2 0 6


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