Tuesday night, Dec. 17, marked the boys basketball home opener when the Rustlers (0-2) hosted the Potter County Battlers (2-0). The battlers swept both games with a 35-27 win in the junior varsity game and a 67-59 win in the varsity game.
The junior varsity boys had a strong performance through three quarters when they led 20-16 going into the fourth. Jason Manning led the Rustlers in scoring and rebounds with nine points and seven rebounds. Other notable performances included Erik Hasart with five points and Cody Naber with six rebounds. The Battlers finished strong by outscoring the Rustlers 19-7 in the final quarter and earned a 35-27 victory. The leading scorer for Potter County was freshman Tanner Storer who finished the night with 16 points.
The atmosphere from the start of the varsity game was electric and the passion of the players and fans would only grow as the night progressed. The two sides were evenly matched through three quarters with the Rustlers up at the end of the first, the Battlers up at the end of the second, and a deadlock at the end of the third. At 46-46 going into the fourth, all that was left for both teams was a tooth-and-nail fight to the finish. Beau Keeter’s juggernaut performance kept the Rustlers in it all game long. He finished the night with 28 points. Haydn Herman scored 12 points and Cody Breland finished with nine points on the board. Preston Blackwell and Haydn Herman topped the rebound category with 10 and seven respectively. In the end, a 17 percent shooting percentage from the three-point line and ball control issues would do in the Rustlers with 25 turnovers compared to the opponent’s 16. As the end neared, Miller players would throw themselves on the floor and wrestle for the ball hoping to turn the tide in their favor but to no avail. Potter County took a 67-59 victory with top performances by Chase Sievers, Kole Hawkinson, and Colton Hall who scored 13,12, and 10 points respectively. Rustlers’ Coach Bob Waldrop said, “I thought we played really hard. They’re a good basketball team and you gotta’ give them credit. We turned the ball over a little too much and we didn’t finish both halves very well. They outplayed us in the last minute of the first half and the last minute of the game and that was the difference in it.”
The Miller boys will now embark on a four game away streak not returning to home court until January 14 at 6 p.m. against Redfield/ Doland.