COZAD – The Haymakers basketball squads hosted the St. Paul Wildcats on Tuesday this week. The girls played a close game with the lady ‘Cats before losing the lead in the last quarter for a 41-29 loss; the Haymakers battled back from an 18 point deficit for an exciting closure, winning 52-51.
From the bench to the stands; the edge of the seat to the air, Haymakers fans celebrated a classic sports cinema moment happening at home in the barn. The Haymakers had fallen far behind the Wildcats, battled back to tie the game, and then, down by one with seconds on the clock a home player sticks a two pointer with little more than a second to spare.
The game saw a turnaround for the Haymakers in the fourth quarter and with a three-pointer from Maddux Myer the Cozad boys claimed the lead toward the end of the game. Cozad and St. Paul danced around each other with the lead in the final moments on the game and it looked to go to the Wildcats. Cozad senior Nate Neil sent a ball in the air as the clock counted down and nailed the shot for a one point lead with a fraction of a second left on the running clock. A St. Paul player launched the ball from full court in a hurry. The wild throw caught the rafters in the Cozad gym, and the final buzzer sounded as the ball fell back to the court.
“Kudos to our kids for coming back and making that a game and making the game winning plays,” Cozad head coach Drew Danielson said after the game. “We can’t dig ourselves in that type of hole, we know that, but it’s about winning the game.”
The lady ‘Makers lost their game late in the second half when St. Paul extended their 22-25 lead at the end of the third quarter to 29-41 at the final.
“The girls played really hard and tried to fight back,” said Cozad girls head coach Zach Stauffer. “We still have a lot of things we have to take care of to improve and finish the game a little stronger.”
The lady Haymakers appeared to be struggling to find the net as they recorded 31 percent from the field against the lady Wildcats.
“That’s been a big issue for us, so far,” Stauffer added. “We’re rushing our shots right now. We’re still getting used to our offense and we need to settle down and take good shots. We’re getting good looks, we’re just rushing and I think our shooting percentage will go up when we get more confidence on the offensive side.”
Cozad fans will be treated to another game at home on Saturday, Dec. 8 when they host the Valentine Badgers. The girls game is set for 4 p.m. while the boys will follow at 6 p.m.