For the Tanager boys, early setbacks and late comebacks falling short turned into a close defeat at the hands of the South Sioux City Cardinals.
After a slow start, which was followed by an improved second quarter, the Tanagers were able to knot things up at 24-24 when the halftime buzzer sounded off.
The Tanagers, feeling very comfortable at home, turned a continuously improving effort in the third quarter into a three-point lead as the period ended. With a score of 39-36, the Tanager boys would have to hang on for the fourth and final period of the game, hoping to send the Cardinals below the .500 mark and to improve their record to 2-1 on the season. The visitors had a few other things in mind, however. These plans included climbing out of their monotonous scoring trend of 12 points in each of the first three quarters.
After competitive play back and forth for the majority of the last quarter, South Sioux City was finally able to snatch the lead away. Via Nick Horan's connection on a three-pointer, the Cardinals took minimal control with less than two minutes to play in the game.
After missed free throws, which contributed to the abysmal total percentages of the game, it appeared at the time, however, that all hope was not yet lost.
With only 1:30 left on the clock, Jeff Donnelly drove to the hoop for a layup, bringing his team within one point of victory. As the final buzzer sounded, the home team and home crowd were left in despair as the Tanagers missed on the front end of what appeared to be a sure game-winning layup.
The Tanager boys varsity squad truly fell behind, came back and then fell behind for good with a 55-54 loss to South Sioux City.
For the Tanagers, Jeff Donnelly led in scoring with 20 points. Donnelly was followed by Jordan Boots with 19 and Broc Gauer with nine. Off of the glass, Andrew Pearson led the home team with seven rebounds. Broc Gauer pulled in five rebounds himself. Ryan Powell and Boots both added three assists to their game totals.
For the opposing Cardinals, Nick Horan and Tyler Hobenstein led in scoring with 20 and 12. Hobenstein also pulled in nine rebounds. Ben Hirsch added nine points and eight rebounds. Chico Hernandez, who may have exhibited the most complete effort of all, finished with five points, a game-high three steals and another game-high with seven assists.
After the game, Coach Jason Huska reflected on his team's up and down, wild ride of a game. Coach Huska stated, "Our kids played hard. It was a tough loss for us. It felt like we were in control of most of the game but let it slip at the end. We will continue to improve both offensively and defensively. They were a good basketball team."