Published Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 12:23 am
Heartland Lutheran downs Pleasanton

Heartland Lutheran faced a strong challenge inside Tuesday night as it faced Pleasanton, but found an unexpected strength there as well as the Red Hornets downed the Bulldogs 53-49.

Faced with the challenge of taking on six-foot three John Kohlscheen, Heartland Lutheran turned to the defensive combination of Anthony Dreher and Devin Hueftle to hold the fort inside. And although Kohlscheen finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds, the Red Hornets played damage control ball, as the rest of the Pleasanton offense was unable to take up the slack.

Meanwhile, Hueftle kept Heartland Lutheran (2-1) alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points as the Red Hornets held off a furious Bulldog rally in the final minute of the game. Heartland Lutheran coach Lloyd Wagnitz gave his inside players credit for the key roles they played in the win.

"It hurt us that Noah (Messersith) is injured," Wagnitz said. "But those other two kids did some work for us. Anthony’s really come into his own. This is the first year he’s played - he’s always been injured - but he played hard defensively and got some nice boards. We knew Kohlscheen would be a handful and our guys really stepped up.

"Offensively Devin ws big for us. He’s very good at being in the right place at the right time, and once Grant (Suchanek) started getting inside, Devin took advantage."

Pleasanton coach Jeremiah Slough said that his team struggled at some key points in the contest.

"A big part of it was that we need to take better care of the basketball and try to get better shots," he noted. "One of the biggest things for us is that we had the ball for the last shot in each of the first three quarters. The first two times they played such good defense we didn’t get the shot we wanted, and in the third they force a steal and get a layup on us. Our kids haven’t been a fourth quarter team this year, and that made it harder."

The Red Hornets picked up the win despite coming up short on the boards 34 to 23 and struggling at the free throw line, hitting only six of 16 shots on the night and going one of five in the fourth.

"That was tough," Wagnitz said. "Our best shooters were missing free throws, Jon (Simonson) missed a wide open layup. It was frustrating. We had the right people going to the line and we couldn’t convert."

Heartland Lutheran jumped to a 15-8 lead at the end of the first quarter after Suchanek scored on a layup off the wing, then Simonson followed with a drive inside and a three-pointer. Pleasanton (0-3) countered as the second quarter unfolded getting within two after an inside basket from Kohlscheen and then narrowing the gap to one as Ryan Busch scored on a folow shot inside. But Heartland Lutheran, in a bit of foreshadowing, got the final points of the half as Hueftle grabbed an offensive rebound and hit the putback.

The Red Hornets were able to maintain at least a two to three basket lead for much of the second half, and held a nine point lead with a minute to go. Pleasanton scored quickly on an inside basket from Blake Eckhout, who followed a Hueftle basket with a three point play. Heartland then missed the front end of a one and one with 13 seconds to go, and Caleb Eckel hit a three to cut the lead to 52-49 with three seconds left. Suchanek was fouled and hit one shot to give the Red Hornets the win.

Pleasanton (0-3)
Hill 0-7 0-0 0, Miller 2-4 0-1 5, Eckhout 3-3 1-1 7, Eckel 2-7 1-2 6, Busch 2-5 1-2 6, Metz 0-1 0-0 0, Kohlscheen 11-22 2-3 25. Totals 20-49 5-9 49.

Heartland Lutheran (2-1)
Jacob Simonson 1-7 2-2 5, Warneke 2-5 0-1 4, Jon Simonson 6-14 1-4 16, Sanders 0-0 1-2 1, Suchanek 4-9 1-4 10, Hueftle 8-9 1-3 17. Totals 21-44 6-16 53.

Pleasanton 8 14 13 14 — 49
Heartland Lutheran 15 10 15 13 — 53

3-point shots — P 4-18 (Hill 0-2, Miller 1-2, Eckel 1-5, Busch 1-2, Metz 0-1, Kohlscheen 1-6), HL 5-16 (Jacob Simonson 1-6, Warneke 0-2, Jon Simonson 3-4, Suchanek 1-4). Rebounds — P 34 (Kohlscheen 12), HL 23 (Hueftle 5, Suchanek 5). Assists — P 13 (Hill 5), HL 11 (Suchanek 5). Turnovers — P 12, HL 5. Personal Fouls — P 15, HL 14. Fouled Out — None. Technical Fouls — None.


Heartland Lutheran 43, Pleasanton 39

Sometimes the numbers just don’t seem to add up, but the ones that mattered showed the Red Hornets picking up their first win of the season as they defeated Pleasanton.

Heartland Lutheran dominated the boards, but failed to take advantage of multiple trips to the free throw line. The Red Hornets (1-2) hit only 13-of-30 attempts from the stripe, and that, combined with 32 turnovers, was nearly enough to sink their ship. But the operative word is almost.

"As a team we’re young and anxious," Heartland Lutheran coach Katherine Langrehr said. "Learning how to maintain a lead will be the biggest learning experience for this team. They made a run in the second half and I’m really proud of us for pulling through."

The game was a story of two halves. Heartland dominated the first, outscoring Pleasanton 13-0 in the second quarter for a 20-7 lead entering the third period. That’s when the Bulldogs (0-3) began to push back hard. The Pleasanton offense began to generate heat, as Taylor Nichols scored on a lob pass inside in the opening seconds, followed by a three from Kristen Tolles and two baskets from Mallary Paitz. Suddenly, just two minutes and change into the second half, the lead was down to three and the Red Hornets had to regroup in a hurry. Justine Bader finally broke the drought for Heartland Lutheran on an inside drive and the Red Hornets built on that momentum in the quarter’s final moments. Sydney Schmitt, who led Heartland Lutheran with 13, hit a pair of free throws, followed by a jumper from the line by Bader and an inside basket from Katy Kowalski. That gave Heartland Lutheran a nine-point edge entering the final eight minutes, and it almost wasn’t enough.

Pleasanton managed to score 20 points in the final period. Tolles led the way for the Bulldogs with five threes en route to a 19-point effort, and her final trey narrowed the lead to one with 31 seconds remaining. The Red Hornets went to the line four times in that final half-minute, and found just enough success to preserve the win.

Pleasanton coach Eric Jones said his team’s early offensive problems proved difficult to overcome.

"We weren’t worried about their height advantage coming in," he said. "But we missed five layups to start the game, and we started thinking it was because of their height. That meant we shot five or six bad three-point attempts. We were getting good shot opportunities, but we weren’t finishing."

Pleasanton (0-3)
Hand 0-1 0-0 0, Dauel 0-1 0-0 0, Pritchard 2-8 0-0 4, Mallary Paitz 3-13 0-2 8, Ahrens 3-11 0-0 6, Tolles 7-16 0-1 19, Nichols 1-8 0-0 2, Maddie Paitz 0-1 0-1 0, Zimmer 0-2 0-1 0. Totals 16-61 0-5 39.

Heartland Lutheran (1-2)
Scheer 0-0 0-2 0, Wiegert 3-8 1-4 7, Hollman 3-8 0-2 6, Schmitt 3-7 7-7 13, Bader 2-4 2-4 6, Kowalski 1-4 0-4, Hiegel 3-8 3-7 9. Totals 15-39 13-30 43.

Pleasanton 7 0 12 20 — 39
Heartland Lutheran 7 13 8 15 — 43

3-point shots — P 7-33 (Hand 0-1, Dauel 0-1, Pritchard 0-4, Mallary Paitz 2-10, Ahrens 0-6, Tolles 5-10, Maddie Paitz 0-1), HL 0-3 (Schmitt 0-1, Bader 0-1, Hiegel 0-1). Rebounds — P 28 (Tolles 6, Nichols 5), HL 50 (Hiegel 12, Hollman 11, Kowalski 9). Assists — P 6 (Pritchard 2, Mallary Paitz 2), HL 4 (Bader 2). Turnovers — P 13, HL 32. Personal Fouls — P 21, HL 16. Fouled Out — P, Pritchard, Tolles, Nichols. Technical Fouls — None.

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