Bluestem boys struggle against Erie

Lions find tough night against No. 3 team in the state.

Lionel Tipton

LEON – Erie’s boys entered Friday night’s game ranked No. 3 in Class 2A and quickly provided overwhelming evidence to justify that perch.

The more-athletic Red Devils had 11 points before Bluestem could break into the scoring column, and they never looked back in a 79-17 runaway at Bluestem.

Senior Mark Bogner scored seven of the Red Devils’ first nine points and 17 of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter, pacing Erie (13-1) to a 25-4 lead after one period.

Even though Bogner only had three points the rest of the way, the Red Devils got scoring from numerous other sources. Erie made it look seemingly effortless and capitalized on a significant height and talent advantage.

Meanwhile, Bluestem (5-11) struggled to score and seemed to be reluctant to shoot. Junior guard Landen Wilson, who didn’t start the game, scored the Lions’ first points on a three-pointer with 3:41 left in the period. He added one of two free throws in the quarter’s final minute and a field goal in the second quarter for six of Bluestem’s first-half points. Jake Emmons hit a basket from in close just before the half ended, but Erie still had a 40-8 advantage at the break.

Afterward, coach Branigun Gomez said Erie just had too many weapons.

“They’re a great team,” he said. “I’m not taking anything away from them. They play hard for 32 minutes of the game and made us do some things we didn’t want to do, and their aggressive defense took care of it.”

Erie is a school that could challenge teams who have much larger enrollments, Gomez said. 

“They’re very lengthy,” he said. “They can shoot, guard the ball and just deny and make it really tough in the passing lanes.”

Bluestem couldn’t get the rebounds because of Erie’s height inside, he said.

“Their two big guys (junior Eric Dillinger and senior Dawson Lehman) took care of us on the boards (and) that made it tough,” Gomez said. “We had to kind of sink in because of those guys, and then they had guys on the outside waiting for us.”

A key for the Lions is to stay positive, Gomez said – especially with all the games crammed together in a short period of time. Bluestem has nine games in three weeks, with a junior-varsity tournament slated for Saturday.

“We’ve got to stay true to what we try to do,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep looking forward and ready for that next game.

“We’re just fortunate that we can play. The kids are getting better every day.”

Erie boys 79, Bluestem 17

Erie 25;15;23;16 – 79

Bluestem 4;4;7;2 – 17

Erie: Bogner 4(4) 0-0 20, Lehman 6 1-2 13, Dillinger 6 0-0 12, Ruark 2(1) 0-0 7, Eads 3 0-0 6, Pasquarelli 1(1) 0-2 5, Ewen 1(1) 0-0 5, Boaz 2 0-1 4, Bartholomew 1 1-2 3, Duling 1 0-0 2, Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals  28(7) 2-7 79.

Bluestem: Wilson 1(1) 3-4 8, Jackson 1(1) 0-0 5, Emmons 1 0-0 2, Walden 1 0-0 2. Totals 4(2) 3-4 17.