Spartans come up short late, lose 65-59
By Dan Karpiel
Tuesday night in the Berthoud High School gym the Spartan boys basketball team fell to the Eaton Reds 65-59. The loss drops Berthoud to 3-7 on the year and 0-2 in the Patriot League.
The Spartans battled all game long, taking a 48-48 tie into the fourth and final period of the game. However, Berthoud was only able to sink two baskets from the floor in the fourth period and struggled from the free throw line shooting only 7/14 in the fourth period. “Foul trouble hurt us a little bit down the stretch….and the (struggles) from the free throw line in the final four minutes bit us in the rear,” Berthoud Head Coach Pete Scheck said summing up the game.
Once again the Spartans found success from three-point range, sinking 11 shots from beyond the arc. Junior forward Greg Hutchins led the way draining six from downtown as part of his team-high 22 points. Berthoud was also able to grab 13 steals on the night with junior guards Mic Nienaber and Zach Ruebesam each tallying three.
Berthoud was able to get off to a hot start with an 8-3 run to open the game and held a 20-13 lead at the end of the first period. Ruebesam sank a trio of three-pointers to lead Berthoud in the first period. Eaton was able to rally and used their size advantage to frustrate the Spartans, out-scoring Berthoud 22-11 in the second period and taking a 35-31 lead into the locker room at halftime.
While the Spartans were able to battle back to tie the score at 48 by the end of the third period, the Reds’ superior depth was enough to over-come Berthoud’s rally. Berthoud’s paltry 50% free throw shooting relative to Eaton’s 8/11 from made the difference in the final period. Ruebesam and Nienaber battled foul trouble for most the game and both fouled-out late in the game. “When we needed to be able to make plays to win the game we just didn’t have the personnel available to do it,” Scheck explained after the game. Eaton out-scored Berthoud by a 17-13 mark in the fourth period to secure the victory.
Berthoud was unable to get the ball down low with any regularity and was routinely forced to settle for lower-percentage shot attempts from outside. When asked about this after the game coach Scheck explained, “Part of it might be that we don’t work real hard to get it in there, it’s not really our strength.” When the Spartans as a team cannot get consistently good perimeter shooting for most, if not all of the game, they will struggle against bigger and more physical teams as they did Tuesday night. Berthoud was only 18/45 (40%) from the field against Eaton.
The Spartans will play their next two games on the road with trips to Brush and Strasburg before returning home for a contest with Platte Valley High School on January 28.
The Berthoud Girls also lost to Eaton by a score of 35-53.