Spartans pull out win at Ellsworth, 58-56The Somerset boys basketball team led for only 35 seconds in last Tuesday’s game at Ellsworth, but it was the most important 35 seconds.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The Somerset boys basketball team led for only 35 seconds in last Tuesday’s game at Ellsworth, but it was the most important 35 seconds.
Luke Buerkley’s three-pointer with 35 seconds left in the game put Somerset in front 58-56. The Spartans came up with some big defensive pressure in those final seconds, preserving the 58-56 win at Ellsworth.
With the win the Spartans climb to 2-2 in the Middle Border Conference standings.
Tuesday’s game did not start well for the Spartans. Ellsworth got a big offensive start from returning all-MBC players Drew Hipple and Nick Niedfeldt to take a 27-18 lead in the first quarter.
After the shaky opening quarter, the Spartans regrouped. Ellsworth was able to maintain a lead, usually in the 4-6 point range, for the rest of the game...until the final minute.
In the final minute the Spartans got two shots off. Both off target. Each time, the Spartans were able to track down the offensive rebound. The third time, the Spartans rotated the ball to Buerkley in the left corner. He drained the shot to give the Spartans the lead.
Ellsworth had its chances in the final 35 seconds. The Panthers tried to set up shots for Niedfeldt, but heavy pressure from Somerset guard David Moulton upended that plan. Ellsworth took a timeout with 11 seconds left to set up a final shot. Tough defense from the Spartans forced Ellsworth to take an off balance shot. Somerset center Bryan Witzmann grabbed the rebound, then lobbed the ball to the other end of the court so the clock could run out.
Moulton led the Spartans with 15 points in the game, in spite of heavy defensive attention from Ellsworth. He now ranks second in the MBC in scoring. Buerkley scored 14 points and Witzmann and Ben Kieckhoefer each scored eight points.
Spartan coach Brent Larson said players coming off the bench played a pivotal role in the win. He said Kieckhoefer and Rocky Larson played important minutes at guard. Jordan Hansen came in when Witzmann got into foul trouble and played well in the post.
Witzmann led the Spartans with eight rebounds, Buerkley contributed eight and Hansen added seven, as the Spartans built a large rebound advantage in the game.
The Spartans play their only January home game this Friday, when Osceola’s boys visit. The Spartans return to the road next Tuesday, playing at Amery.