ASHLAND, Neb. — With Platteview changing conferences this fall, the Trojans need to keep Ashland-Greenwood on the schedule.
They didn’t win Tuesday night’s Capitol Conference game, falling to the Class C-1 No. 5 Jays 63-56 in overtime. But it was a showcase for three top young players who should be playing against one another the next couple of years.
Ashland sophomore Cale Jacobsen had a 30-point game while collecting 10 rebounds, four steals, two blocks and an assist in my stats-keeping. Platteview junior Tyler Riley had 21 points and freshman Connor Millikan 19.
Platteview is leaving the Capitol for the new Trailblazer Conference. It has six charter members and is said to be looking for two more schools to join Platteview, Ralston, Beatrice, Wahoo, Plattsmouth and Nebraska City.
Millikan and Jacobsen guarded each other often, moreso after halftime when the 5-11 Millikan and the 6-4 Jacobsen each had 13 points.
“Tyler had a good first half. Connor had a good second half,’’ Platteview coach Tim Brotzki said. “But I think it all goes back to stopping Jacobsen. We didn’t do a very good job of that, and we knew what he was going to do. We just couldn’t stop it.
“He’s a bigger body than last year. He’s a sophomore in high school that looks like he’s a sophomore in college. I see him all summer long. His progression from his freshman year to sophomore, he’s done a really good job and he’s going to continue to get better.”
Jacobsen’s growth path would serve Millikan well. Jays coach Jacob Mohs said he sees some traits in Millikan that Jacobsen had his freshman year.
“He’s poised, he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,’’ Mohs said. “He shoots and he’s just an all-around very good, competitive basketball player.
“He gave us fits for most of the game. I thought when we switched to Cale on him he had a little bit tougher time against a longer defense, and that was almost kind of a turning point for us.”
Platteview (6-5) led only twice, once in each of the first two quarters, but never let Ashland get more than a nine-point lead. The Trojans battled with 6-4 senior Trey Brotzki limited by picking up three fouls in the first quarter and his fourth late in the third.
“We need at least two of our top three to be scoring,’’ coach Brotzki said. “If we have one of them we’re not very good. If we have two of them we’re OK. And if we have all three of them score, we’re pretty good. We’ve got another tough game against Wahoo on Friday.”
The Trojans trailed 51-45 with 2½ minutes left, but scored the last six points of regulation on a Riley free throw, a Millikan basket in transition and Trey Brotzki’s 3 with 1:11 left.
Platteview had the ball for the final 1:01 after an offensive foul on Jacobsen. The Trojans spent two timeouts, kept possession on a held ball with nine seconds left and ended up not getting a shot.
Ashland’s Bryce Kitrell, an all-state football player who’s headed to Ohio, opened overtime with two free throws, and fellow senior Gavin Bergsten iced the win for the 8-2 Jays by going 6 of 6 at the line in the final 1:22 after not scoring in regulation.
“I just told the kids in the locker room free throws were huge, and to have various guys step up throughout the game and throughout the last game or two has been huge for our team,’’ Mohs said. “We’re healthy now. We’ve had about two weeks with everyone on our team, and we’re ready to make a little run and kind of get going.”
Platteview (6-5)......................... 9 14 15 13 5—56
At Ashland-Greenwood (8-2)..... 12 15 12 12 12—63
P: Tyler Riley 21, Connor Millikan 19, Braxton Karnik 8, Trey Brotzki 6, Tanner Millikan 2.
AG: Cale Jacobsen 30, Bryce Kitrell 8, Gavin Bergsten 6, Jarrod Nafzinger 6, Kyle vonRentzell 5, Rece Kissinger 4, Chase Craven 2, Aiden Lindley 2.