AURORA, Neb. — The Fullerton Warriors may have played one of their best quarters of basketball this season over the final eight minutes of the D1-4 District Final at Aurora High School on Tuesday night.
Heartland went to the fourth quarter nursing a 46-45 lead but Fullerton put up 29 points and pulled away for the 74-64 win to punch their ticket to the Class D-1 State Tournament.
Heartland (19-3) still has a great chance to earn a wild card.
“If Kenesaw wins we are in,” said Heartland coach Clark Ribble after the game.
In the fourth quarter the Warriors went 7 of 8 from the field, they hit both of their 3-point attempts and they knocked down 13 of 19 free throw attempts.
“They just made shots and did a good job of making free throws down the stretch,” said Ribble. “When you don’t get stops on defense and don’t get rebounds, it gives them a very good shot at being successful.”
Heartland trailed 15-13 at the end of the first quarter and the Warriors were on the verge of increasing their advantage to double digits with a 29-21 lead with 5:03 to play.
Heartland flipped the switch went on a 15-3 run to close out the first half and led 36-32 at the break.
Heartland senior Connor Boehr had a season in the second quarter as he scored 13 points and most of them came on easy lay ups and point blank shots. Boehr had 16 at the break.
“They weren’t guarding him in the first half so we got the ball to the middle and got some easy lay ups,” said Ribble. They adjusted defensively in the second half and took that away from us. They rotated over better defensively.”
It was Boehr, Buller and Kyle Ott who combined to score 26 of the Huskies 36 first half points.
The focus of the Fullerton defense was squarely on Heartland senior Lane Huebert who was double teamed the entire night, but still led the Huskies in scoring with 24 points, 12 of them coming in the fourth quarter.
“I figured they would do something different to him, but we didn’t know what. But if you let him create he is very dangerous,” Ribble said. “They did a good job of sticking two guys on him and not giving him very much space.”
Heartland could not make up any ground in the fourth quarter as they were just 5 of 19 from the field and finished up the game 23 of 58 overall. The Huskies were 3 of 19 from 3-point range and 15 of 26 at the charity stripe.
Fullerton had a lot of offensive options as they had four players in double figures led by freshman Cole Horacek with 18 points, Brandon Rasmussen added 14, Ryan Hellbusch poured in 13 and Brent Wetovick added 12.
The Warriors were 25 of 52 from the field and 7 of 18 from the 30point arc.
Fullerton was 17 of 26 at the foul stripe.
The rebounding edge was slight but went to Fullerton 35-34 and both teams turned the ball over nine times.
Heartland (19-3)...........13 23 10 18—64
Fullerton (20-4)............15 17 13 29—74
HRT: Oswald 3, Huebert 24, Regier 2, Buller 11, Ott 6, Boehr 18. Totals: 23-58 (3-19) 15-26 64.
FUL: Horacek 18, Dubas 5, Wetovick 12, Patton 9, Rasmussen 14, Hellbusch 13, Gleason 3. Totals: 25-52 (7-18) 17-26 74.