Rocket hoops since not over yet after win over E/EH-K

Paton-Churdan’s hopes for a spot in the Class 1A boys state basketball tournament are still alive following a 38-37 win over Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton in Manning Tuesday night.

The Rockets had a two point lead, 14-12, after the first quarter, but scored only two points in the second quarter to fall behind 21-16 at halftime. Noah Juergensen, the Rockets’ lead scorer and the lead rebounder, was called for fouls early in the first half and didn’t play in the second quarter. Coach Chris Stimson said junior Trevor Bundt stepped up his defensive game  and helped the cause. Stimson also commended senior Joe Thede and sophomore Charlie Minnehan for their defensive efforts.

The momentum swung back to the Rockets in the third quarter as they reclaimed a one point lead, 28-27, to end the quarter.

The final minute of the game was as exciting as high school basketball gets. The Rockets were up 36-35 when E/EH-K missed several shots. Juergensen, who had played most of the quarter with four fouls against him, stole the ball with 10 seconds to play. He passed to sophomore Joe Towers. E/EH-K immediately fouled Towers, but after missing the front end of a 1-and-1 at his previous trip to the line, he made both free throws to put his team ahead 38-35.

The Spartans hustled the ball back down the court and put up a 3-point shot that missed. They got the offensive rebound and made a two, but the Rockets held the one point lead when the buzzer sounded.

Towers led the Rockets in scoring with 12 points and junior Chase Juergensen scored 10. Sophomore Jake Berns and Noah Juergensen had eight points each.

P-C plays IKM-Manning in Guthrie Center Thurday at 7 pm. The winner of that game plays the District 13 winner for the Substate 7 title and a trip to the state tournament. IKM-Manning is 20-2 and is ranked ninth in Class 1A. The Rockets are 17-5.

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