The Concordia Panthers were staggered by Holton’s first nine three-pointers, and then floored by the 10th.
After Concordia had battled back from 15 points down in the third quarter to pull even with Holton on a basket by Gabe Bergmann with 12 seconds to play in the game, Garett Beecher took a pass from Trent Tanking and buried his third three of the game as time ran out to give the Wildcats a 60-57 victory over the Panthers Saturday night in the Concordia Junior-Senior High School gymnasium.
Concordia (10-5) never led in the game, and Holton hit big three after big three to sustain the lead until the closing seconds.
The Panthers pumped in 20 points in less than six minutes in the fourth quarter to tie the game before Beecher’s dagger as time ran out.
“We shouldn’t have been in that situation to begin with,” Concordia coach Michael Roe said, “When you make a run at the end, and you lose on a last second shot, it always hurts a little. We can’t dwell on it for too long. We have to turn right around and play better the next time.”
Trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half, Concordia was down 34-21 at halftime.
Consecutive baskets by Cooper Holmes and Grant Holmes got the Panthers within nine points, 34-25, just a minute into the third quarter.
Ty Burdiek and Trey Tanking hit back to back threes, and Holton led 40-25.
Grant Holmes scored nine points during a 9-4 Concordia spurt that closed the gap to 44-37.
Burdiek buried another trey as time ran out in the period to put the Wildcats on top 47-37.
“They shoot a lot of threes. Percentage wise, they weren’t shooting a great percentage, but they got open looks,” Roe said.
Bergmann, who had to leave the game in the second quarter after taking a shot to the nose, led a Concordia comeback in the final quarter. The 6-4 senior scored nine of his 17 points in the period. He was 8 of 10 from the field, and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
“Gabe is playing extremely hard, and he is having a lot of success right now. He did a nice job of scoring at the rim, and rebounding the basketball and bringing a spark in the second half,” Roe said.
A basket by Bergmann, a three-point play by Joshua Pounds and a free throw by Bergmann made it a 47-43 game.
Burdiek scored for Holton, but Bergmann answered with a bucket.
Baskets by Trent Tanking and Ryan Haefke extended Holton’s lead to 53-45 with 3:01 on the clock.
Cooper Holmes then poured in six straight points, the Panthers trailed just 53-51 when he hit two free throws with 1:30 on the clock. The freshman led all scorers with 20 points. He made 6 of 11 field goal attempts and eight of nine free throws.
Holton (11-4) got a free throw by Burdiek to go up 54-51.
Another basket by Bergmann got Concordia within a point, 54-53, with 34 seconds remaining.
Beecher, who scored 11 points, made two free throws just three seconds later to make it 56-53.
Pounds drew a foul seven seconds later, and made two free throws, and the Panthers were again within a point, 56-55.
Concordia quickly fouled Trent Tanking. He missed his first of two free throws, but made the second to give Holton a 57-55 cushion.
The Panthers again went inside to Bergmann, and he converted to tie the game.
Tanking penetrated against the Concordia defense, and then kicked the ball out to Beecher, his three-point shot bounced off the rim and dropped as time ran out.
“Going into the game we knew we had to stop dribble penetration. They penetrated, and we helped off, and they got a good look at the three and it went in,” Roe said.
Grant Holmes scored 13 points for Concordia.
Pounds finished with five points and six assists.
The Panthers shot the ball well from the field, connecting on 21 of 40 attempts for 53 percent, but missed all seven three-point shots. They were 15 of 19 from the line.
Trent Tanking led Holton with 16 points.
Trey Tanking added 13 points.
Concordia got off to a slow start, scoring just four points in the first quarter, and fell behind 14-4.
“We were flat the first half, and especially the first quarter. We scored four points in the first quarter, and we are already in a 10-point hole. The rest of the game we struggled to dig out of it,” Roe said.
The Panthers picked it up on the offensive end in the second period, scoring 17 points, but lost ground as the Wildcats knocked down four threes, and tossed in 20 points to go up 34-21 at halftime.
Concordia rallied in the second half, only to have Beecher deliver a heartbreaking blow.
The Panthers will play at Riley County on Tuesday night.
Holaday 0-0-4 0, Burdiek 3-1-4 9, Trey Tanking 5-0-1 13, Trent Tanking 5-4-1 16, Beecher 3-2-4 11, Haefke 3-1-2 7, Karn 1-2-4 4. Totals: 20-10-20 60.
K. Pounds 0-0-2 0, Garcia 0-2-4 2, J. Pounds 1-3-4 5, G. Holmes 6-1-4 13, C. Holmes 6-8-3 20, Bergmann 8-1-3 17. Totals: 21-15-20 57.