Although the Class C2 state basketball tournament didn’t go as well as Tri County had hoped, Coach Jeremy Siems said the weekend was a great opportunity for the Trojans.
“It didn’t conclude the way every team hopes,” he said. “But to make an appearance and get a win is special. To be one of four left is an amazing accomplishment.”
Tri County picked up its first state tournament win since 1988 on March 9 when it defeated Doniphan-Trumbull 56-41. The Trojans fell short against Amherst 36-19 in the semifinals and lost to Cedar Catholic 57-48 in the third-place game.
Having a week to prepare for Doniphan-Trumbull was good, Siems said.
“I liked the way we came out. We played good defense and executed well,” he said.
The game was tight throughout, but TC maintained its composure and waited for the scoring run it knew was coming.
The score was 29-28 DT at halftime, and neither offense got going in the third quarter, where the teams combined for seven points.
TCHS got rolling in the fourth quarter, putting up 26 points and holding the Cardinals to seven. Carter Siems, who finished the game with a double double of 30 points and 12 rebounds, scored 10 in the fourth, and Caden Bales added 12 of his 17 in the quarter.
Playing at the Bob Devaney Sports Center was a neat experience for everyone – fans, players and coaches, Coach Siems said.
The win put TC in the semifinals against Amherst, a team that needed overtime to win its opening round game.
“They are a tremendously talented team with no holes on defense or offense,” Coach Siems said.
He liked Tri County’s first quarter defense against a high-scoring Amherst team.
“We wanted to slow things down,” he said. “I thought we played fantastic defense and held them to 13 points.”
Unfortunately for Tri County, its offense couldn’t get going and had just six points at halftime.
“It seemed there was a lid on the hoop,” Coach Siems said. “We felt good at half, only down seven.”
In the second half, he said, it seemed every time Tri County made a shot, Amherst answered with a three-pointer.
The Trojans stayed within striking distance however, but then had to extend the defense in the fourth quarter to set up offensive opportunities.
“I can’t question our effort,” Coach Siems said. “We were doing exactly what we needed.”
Carter Siems and Bales each scored five points to lead Tri County.
The loss dropped TCHS to the third-place game March 11.
“As hard as we played an incredibly emotionally draining game, we needed more than 24 hours to regroup,” Coach Siems said. “But we answered the bell. We showed up and competed and just came up a little short. It was another opportunity to get together as a team and work together.”
Cedar Catholic led 29-22 at halftime. Carter Siems scored all 11 TC second-quarter points en route to his team-high 22. Chris Janssen added 10 points.
The Trojans finished the season with a 24-6 record. Its six losses came to Freeman (twice), the Class C2 state champion, Amherst, the C2 runner-up, Cedar Catholic and Johnson-Brock (twice), the Class D1 champion.
“To play 30 games – that’s incredible when you think about it,” Coach Siems said.
Tri County will graduate four – Carter Siems, Chris Janssen, Andrew Sasse and Colton Bales. Coach Siems remembered when they started playing together in third grade.
“They just wanted to compete,” he said. “The longer they kept at it, the more success they found.”
He said perseverance is what he’ll remember about this group.
“You never know what can happen,” he said. “I think this is one of the best seasons at Tri County.”
In looking ahead, Coach Siems said the team now knows what it takes to get to the state stage. Three of the juniors who will be back next season – Caden Bales, Cameron Reynolds and Braiden Strouf – each started at some point, and freshman Drew Siems got a lot of experience.
“I like what we have coming back,” Coach Siems said.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here