Bulldogs wrap up season at the 1A State Basketball Tournament
March 16, 2022
While their showing at the 1A State Basketball Tournament wasn't the outcome players, fans or the Haxtun community hoped for, the Bulldogs still have something to be proud of.
The Bulldogs, boasting a roster with five seniors, went 17-8 overall and gave their fans some exciting wins throughout the 16-week season. The team went 8-1 at home and 5-4 on the road while also winning four of three at neutral sites. At their highest point, the team held a five-game winning streak including a win over the then top-ranked Briggsdale Falcons.
The Bulldogs' road to State began at Northeastern Junior College for Districts where the team went 2-1 for a third place finish and a chance at Simla the following week at Regionals. A 10-point win and a Regional bracket championship punched Haxtun's ticket to State last weekend at Bank of Colorado Butler-Hancock Athletic Center in Greeley.
Haxtun opened play on Thursday morning as the sixth seeded team against the number three ranked Granada Bobcats. In a match that at some points included leads as much as 13 and as little as three, the two teams battled until the end in a tough, physical match up that eventually left the Bulldogs with a 67-58 loss.
Four players on the Haxtun team hit double-digits in the scoring column against Granada including seniors David Avery and Owen Knode. Juniors Maclin Tempel and Michael Gerk also reached the double digits. Knode led his team with 20 points followed by Gerk with 12, Tempel with 11 and Avery with 10.
Tempel also led under the basket with 12 total rebounds. Gerk registered six.
Knode tallied seven assists followed by Avery with three. Knode notched six steals.
The nine-point loss to Granada sent Haxtun to the consolation bracket. Friday's action pitted the Bulldogs against the number two ranked Evangelical Christian Eagles who suffered a first-round loss to number seven ranked Merino Rams.
Again the Bulldogs held their own and battled for advantages against a very tall, three-point shooting team but just fell short at the final buzzer, 54-46. The second loss of the tournament ended the team's season.
"Obviously it wasn't the weekend that we had in mind. Sometimes you just don't get the right breaks when you need them and that kind of summed up the weekend," said Head Coach Jayden Stieb.
The 1A finals included number five ranked McClave against Merino Saturday evening. McClave went on to earn a commanding 61-36 victory over the local Rams for the State title.
"Seniors Owen Knode, David Avery, Isaac Andersen, Ozzy Coss and Alex Farrell did everything that was asked of them the past three years," Stieb said. "They showed up every day ready to go to work and with a great attitude. The five of them are outstanding young men and left a great impression on our program that will be felt for years to come. I couldn't have asked for a better group of seniors for the rest of our team to look up to. They will be greatly missed. As a team the boys have a lot to be proud of. They made Lance and I proud every day, and represented the community to the highest standard."