Shane Merrill | Writer
PARKER — Hot off a come-from-behind victory, the Parker boys were set to face off against number five ranked Canistota last Thursday night.
The Pheasants used a strong first half to pull ahead, but the Hawks had the last laugh, holding Parker to 13 points in the second half on their way to a 64-45 victory.
Parker controlled the tempo of the game through most of the first and second quarters. Propelled by hot shooting, the Pheasants pulled ahead in the first off shots from Kaden Pesicka and Cole Jurgens, leading 22-18 after one.
The hot streak continued into the second quarter as back-to-back Parker buckets had the Pheasants up eight. The Hawks slowly chipped into the lead getting as close as three, but Parker still led 32-26 at the half.
Canistota came out firing in the second half, quickly erasing the Parker lead and going up by one. The Pheasants came right back as Pesicka drilled back-to-back shots to put Parker back out front by four, but it was all Canistota from there as the Hawks led 47-39 after three and went on to get the win 64-45.
Leading Parker was Pesicka with 15 points while Jurgens had eight. Davin Fuller also hauled in 12 rebounds in the loss. Parker shot just 36 percent from the field while the Hawks hit at a 44 percent clip.
“We played well the first half. Ball was moving and we were aggressive,” commented coach Lance Friesen. “We couldn’t duplicate that the second half and became tentative against their zone.”
Up next the Pheasants continued their tough stretch heading to Viborg and then hosting Sioux Valley.
Cougars outgun Pheasants
VIBORG — After a disappointing loss to Canistota, the Parker boys got a nearly identical game last Friday night in neighboring Viborg.
The Pheasants teased the number two ranked Cougars in the first half only to have the home team finish strong, defeating Parker 70-43 in front of a large crowd.
It was in fact the Cougars that got off to a good start rallying ahead 5-0 and eventually leading 13-2. It looked like things may have been over before they started, but the Pheasants finally awoke late in the quarter with Kaden Pesicka, Cole Jurgens and Matt VanVliet helping the Pheasants close to gap 15-9 after one.
A quick basket opened the second quarter, pulling Parker within four, but once again Viborg-Hurley rallied ahead, taking a 19-11 lead midway through.
Once again the Pheasants pieced together a successful run, matching the Cougars point for point and eventually pulling within one, 19-18. The Pheasants capped the run with a Jace Bridges’ three pointer with 30 seconds remaining, tying the game once more at 23 all, but the host’s had an answer, knocking in a three of their own as the horn sounded, leading 26-23 at the half.
The Pheasants could never regroup in the second half, as V-H quickly pulled ahead 10 and never looked back again, leading 51-30 after three and going on to get the win 70-43.
Pesicka and Carter Robertson led the Pheasants with 11 points apiece while Jurgens added 11. Davin Fuller once again led the rebounding effort with eight. Parker shot 36 percent from the field while the Cougars hit at 46 percent.
“We played well early and competed well inside and on the boards. We got into some foul trouble and that opened up the door for them inside,” remarked coach Lance Friesen. “We never seemed to regroup after they went on a run in the third quarter. Good game to learn from our mistakes.”
Up next the tough stretch with ranked opponents continued with Sioux Valley
Parker puts scare in Sioux Valley
Sioux Valley 10-21-23-23
PARKER —Coming off back to back losses to ranked teams, the Parker boys basketball team was looking for anything to jump start the end of the season as the team eyes a possible post season run. Saturday night the team may have just gotten it, although not in the form of the win. The Pheasants were able to take conference foe and number two ‘A’ ranked Sioux Valley to the wire in front of a nice crowd.
The first quarter was all Parker, as the Pheasants, who had lost to Sioux Valley by 30 a month ago, caught the Cossacks off guard, with Kaden Pesicka, Cole Jurgens and Davin Fuller combing for nine straight points to put Parker up 9-2. Baskets continued to drop as Parker shot the lights out, leading 21-10 after one.
The second saw the Cossacks quickly catch the hosts, but Parker hung tough, continuing to shoot soundly from all over the floor and going up 34-29 in the final minute thanks to three straight buckets from VanVliet, Carter Robertson and Pesicka. Sioux Valley did manage a shot at the buzzer, but Parker still led 34-31 at the half thanks in part to 65 percent shooting from the field.
The third quarter spelled trouble for the Pheasants in the last two games, but this time Parker was able to hold on and be within striking distance as both teams traded blows looking for a sound lead. Sioux Valley looked to have the upper hand late in the quarter, but Robertson and Jurgens drained the last two buckets pulling the Pheasants within 54-50 to end the third.
Sioux Valley did grab momentum in the fourth quarter, forcing the Pheasants to have to claw back to life late. Parker was down but never out, however late shots from Sioux Valley kept the Cossacks ahead as they took the win 77-67 in a shoot out.
Leading Parker, which shot 56 percent for the game, was Pesicka with 20 while Robertson had 12 and Fuller 10. Robertson also grabbed eight rebounds. The Cossacks also shot an impressive 50 percent from the floor and were 16 of 17 from the stripe.
“Probably the most complete game of the year, even in a loss,” exclaimed coach Lance Friesen. “We were efficient offensively whether it was man or zone and we kept coming at them for four quarters. Our main goal was to compete. I felt our guys definitely did that.”
Up next the Pheasants will look to grab momentum heading into the final four games of the season with a 10-6 record.