The boys hosted Tri-Valley Jan. 28 in a game that moved up and down the court at lightning speed. While that led to quick baskets for both teams, it also meant lots of travelling calls and overthrown passes. The teams combined for 36 turnovers in the game.

Despite EPJ head coach Jake Otkin’s calls to “play under control,” EPJ kept up the pace, but still trailed 19-22 at the half.

When the dust cleared at the end of the 3rd quarter, EPJ was up 34-33. One of the refs had a heart-to-heart with several players from both teams, perhaps about conversations under the basket. That slowed down play considerably and the score stayed tight, knotted at 38-all, then 39-40, Huskies trailing, with 4:27 left in the game.

That’s when the baskets stopped and everything else came from the line. Unfortunately for EPJ, all the fouls were called on them, and the Mustangs hit their free throws. Final score was 39-45 in Tri-Valley’s favor.

“Against Tri-Valley our 4th quarter got us as we were outscored 16-7,” Otkin said. “We had the lead by 1 going into the 4th and just tried to force too much stuff instead of staying true to our offense and our game plan. I thought we played one of the best defensive games of the year, but unfortunately I believe that made us tired on the offensive end and that caught up with us in the 4th quarter.

“Although it was a game we felt like we should’ve won, we took some very good things from that game and will apply them to our season going forward,” he said.

Tyler Goehring’s 12 points led the Huskies; Landon Geary also hit double-digits with 11. Riley Schmitz pulled down 11 boards. Andrew Nearman made 4 steals.

The boys represented the DAK-12 Conference at the annual Clash with the North East Conference. They played Webster Area Jan. 30 at Madison and got their third win of the season, 56-49.

The Husky press got them some easy fast-break points to build a 10-4 lead. Andrew Nearman drove into the lane a couple of times and dished it out to open teammates. At first Webster Area wanted to hit from outside, but when those shots didn’t fall, they started going inside with more success. They actually took a 13-12 lead late in the first quarter, as EPJ’s shots started missing the mark.

Landon Geary’s 3 broke the drought, but EPJ was still down 10, 21-31 at the half. They picked up the scoring intensity to get back within 1, 37-38, and Riley Schmitz’s 3 gave them a lead they didn’t give up.

See full story in this week’s Leader-Courier.