Four score in double figures in Bluestem boys win

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Bluestem’s Cooper Larsen (12) goes up for a layup on a breakaway bucket in the second quarter on Monday, Dec. 21 at Bluestem High School. The senior finished with 10 points in the win over Flinthills.

It almost felt as if this was their first game of the season, with all of the quarantining they had to do. 

If this was their first game, what a way to start. 

It wasn’t their first but their third and the Bluestem Lions made it a nice home opener with the 78-61 win over Flinthills on Monday night. 

Kristofer Laidler scored 20 point to lead the Lions. 

“Yeah, feels like a long time,” Bluestem junior Jake Emmons said. “I’m glad we got the win tonight.”

The Lions were up to any challenge all night. Any time Flinthills tried to throw a haymaker at them, Bluestem would respond. 

“We responded to their run,” Bluestem Head Coach Branigun Gomez said. “I felt like we were prepared finally.”

Bluestem let the Mustangs go on an 18-0 run that saw them flip a 14-point deficit in their favor. Most of that run by Flinthills happened while many starters sat in foul trouble. Flinthills’ Hunter Lowmaster scored 13 of the 18 during the run after being in foul trouble but Aiden Reyes came off the bench, getting to the line and helping Bluestem pull within 36-35 at the break. 

“We don’t normally play that deep,” Gomez said. “Really proud of the way Aiden [Reyes] played there in the first half.”

Flinthills kept a 39-35 lead when Nate Becker hit free throws and got to the rim early in the third quarter. However, Emmons scored and Laidler followed it up with buckets. Landon Wilson drained a three to give the Lions the lead for good. 

Lowmaster picked up a third and fourth foul on a charge and a technical foul for arguing said call, sent him to the bench and the Lions would go on a run an 11-0 run to end the third. 

Bluestem would get Lowmaster to foul out early in the fourth quarter, ending any real chance of a comeback. 

“He’s a good kid and Cooper [Larsen] was patient and worked to his advantage tonight,” Gomez said. 

Lowmaster would finish with 23 and Becker would have 24 points for Flinthills.

The lead ballooned to as many as 19 in the fourth quarter as turnovers were aplenty with Flinthills trying to force shots and possessions to get back in the game. 

During the final four minutes of the game, Flinthills missed eight consecutive shots.

Bluestem forced 22 on the night and held Flinthills to 1 of 9 from deep and 38.8 percent from the field. 

It was a nice contrast as the Lions shot 52 percent on the night. 

Emmons finished with 13 points and Larsen added 10. In all, the Lions had seven different players score at least two points. Six scored at least seven points. 

“We just have to keep each other up,” Emmons said. “We can’t let each other get down after every mistake. We did that tonight and hopefully we can do that the rest of the season.”

Flinthills;12;24;7;18;-61

Bluestem;19;16;17;26;-78

FLINTHILLS: FG 21/54 (38.9%) 3PT 1/9 (11.1%) FT 18/25 (72%) TO 22

BLUESTEM: FG 33/58 (56.95) 3PT 4/17 (23.5%) FT 8/13 (61.5%) TO 19

Scoring:

FLINTHILLS: Becker 8 (2) 5-7 24. Lowmaster 9 (0) 5-6 23, Leslie 1 (0) 4-4 6, Stanfield 1 (0) 0-0 2, Houseman 0 (0) 2-3 2, Beard 0 (0) 2-5 2, Steinhauer 1 (0) 0-0 2. TOTALS: 11 (3) 5-11 61.

BLUESTEM: Laidler 8 (1) 1-2 20, Wilson 7 (1) 0-0 17, Emmons 6 (0) 1-5 13, Larsen 5 (0) 0-0 10, Reyes 0 (1) 6-6 9, Jackson 2 (1) 0-0 7, Walden 1 (0) 0-0 2. TOTALS: 29 (4) 8-13 78.

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at cchaney@butlercountytimesgazette.com or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.