All he could do was smile and nod through the tears he couldn’t stop from flowing.
Sometimes words aren’t necessary to tell the story.
Bluestem senior Dylan Emmons had just scored the final two points in a 51-40 win over Belle Plaine. His teammates, coaches, friends and fans all celebrated when Coach Gavin Wuthrich put him in the game on Senior Night.
The other five Lion seniors had started the game, but Emmons is just getting back in action after a compound fracture against Medicine Lodge ended his football season and threatened to keep him off the basketball court as well. Emmons had played a few minutes earlier in the game, but when he got on the floor at the end, he got a pass and made a lay-up to finish the scoring in Bluestem’s second win of the year.
Wuthrich said the win was very important to the seniors, as was Emmons return to the floor.
“This was a great win for the seniors and especially for Dylan with everything he has been through coming back from the broken leg,” Wuthrich said. “I’m really happy for them.”
The seniors got the game off to a good start before some of the normal starters made it onto the floor. Stephen Muckenthaler nailed an early three pointer and Cooper Minnick was good from about 25 feet for three more as Bluestem jumped out to a 17-13 lead after one quarter.
The Dragons turned things around in the second quarter and rallied for a 26-19 lead before the Lions cut the lead to 29-25 at the half.
Bluestem took the lead back at 36-34 and John Stiger hit a buzzer-beater to make the score 38-34 after three quarters.
The Lions kept control of the game and put it away late to win 51-40.
Stiger led the Lions with 17 points. Cooper Minnick also finished in double-figures with 14. Brett Elson added nine points, Blake Elsen scored four, Muckenthaler added three and Emmons and Judd Simon each had two.
The Lady Lions put up a good fight Tuesday night but they fell victim to a 16-2 run in the second half to fall to Belle Plaine 45-30.
Bluestem got baskets from Montana Korte and Breeauna Jackson to take a 21-20 lead in the third quarter. But the scoring stopped and Belle Plaine took advantage of it. Jackson led Bluestem with 13 and Katlin Jurging added eight points. Korte had six points Jordan Stiger had three.
All but three of the Lady Lions’ points cam from freshmen and sophomores.
Bluestem will find out its Sub-State seed Wednesday and will compete in the Eureka Regional.