ST. JOHN — You have to make your free throws down the stretch.
The Macksville Mustangs didn’t convert all of their free throws, but held on for a 58-53 victory over Pratt during a second round game of the St. John Lions Club Mid-Winter Classic on Friday night.
“I wish could’ve hit a few more at the line,” Macksville head coach Jeff Kuckelman said. “We could’ve breathed a little bit easier at the end, but that’s something we’ve got to work on some more in practice.
“It’s not going to get it done normally. That makes me sweat. Somewhere down the line, we’re going to have to hit those, so we’ll keep at it.”
In a game where neither team led by more than six points, Macksville held a small lead throughout most of the second half once Jordan Welch made three free throws after being fouled shooting a 3-pointer, making it 37-34 with 4:18 remaining.
After a 3 from Skylar Dean brought the Greenbacks to within 54-50 with 1:19 left in the game, Pratt began to foul.
Adolfo Ibarra made the front end of a pair of free throws, followed by one of two free throws from Tanner Tranbarger.
Ibarra narrowly missed a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Dean sank another 3-ball to pull the game to 56-53, but Jordan Welch made the first of his two free throws to extend the lead to make it a two-possession game.
Welch led the Mustangs with 19 points, making 9 of 11 free throws.
Tranbarger made the second of two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining to close out the game.
In the first half, both teams were sinking 3-pointers while keeping pace with one another.
“I thought we had a few more to go in the second half,” Kuckelman said. “A lot of our 2s were just back and forth and came out. Things like that. If we hit a few more shots, we’d had a good lead at halftime.
The Mustangs led 15-13 after one quarter, with Welch hitting the seventh 3 in the game as time ran out, but Pratt tied the game at 29 heading into intermission.
Both Garret Smith and Dean went 3-for-8 from 3-point range as the Greenbacks sank totaled eight in the game.
“We did a lot of the things that we talked about going into the game,” Kuckelman said. “I thought our kids played hard. Other than a few times where we gave them too many shots, I thought our rebounding was pretty good. We knew we needed to hold them to one shot as much as possible.
“They’ve got a few kids who can really shoot the ball. We got our hands in their face as much as possible, but they have such a quick trigger.”
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
St. John Lions Club
At St. John
Macksville 58, Pratt 53
Tanner Tranbarger 2-6 4-8 9, Hugo Flores 2-4 2-2 7, Adolfo Ibarra 6-15 3-6 15, Clayton Wood 2-2 0-0 4, Jordan Welch 4-14 9-11 19, Simon Miller 1-5 2-2 4, Billy Burnett 0-1 0-0 0, Kaden Herman 0-1 0-0 0, Peter Penner 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-49 20-29 58.
Garret Smith 4-10 3-5 14, Skylar Dean 8-18 0-0 19, Christian Kurz 1-1 0-0 2, Thomas Mayberry 1-3 0-2 2, Drew Dobbs 0-2 0-0 0, Josh Shumway 1-1 2-2 4, Spencer Sullivan 1-4 0-0 3, Chase Hageman 1-2 0-0 2, Shawn Ramos 0-2 0-0 0, Liam Kahmeyer 3-8 0-0 7. Totals 20-51 5-9 53.
Macksville 15 14 12 17 — 58
Pratt 13 16 7 17 — 53
Three-point goals — Pratt 8-24 (Smith 3-8, Dean 3-8, Sullivan 1-4, Kahmeyer 1-4); Macksville 4-12 (Welch 2-6, Tranbarger 1-3, Flores 1-2, Miller 0-1). Total fouls — Pratt 23, Macksville 13. Fouled out — Pratt (Mayberry).