JV Hornets Stomp the court going 4 -0 at Winter Classic


December 15, 2022

Jim Merryfield/Pine Bluffs Post

Above left: Hornets No. 4 Jesus Solis going around Wheatland's No. 5. Nolan Shaffner.

Like the rest of the Pine Bluffs basketball program the JV team competed in the Burns Insurance Winter Classic Round Robin. The Winter Classic had the Wheatland Bulldogs, Douglas Bearcats, Newcastle Dogies, Torrington Trailblazers and the Pine Bluffs Hornets. Each team played four games over a three-day span. This is just an event to get basketball back into the athletes' thoughts. Some of the athletes were starters or players in the fall sports like football or volleyball. This just gets them into this sport.

The boys JV Hornets started off against the Wheatland Bulldogs. The first quarter was low scoring as both teams were getting into the basketball mode. Six points total was scored in the first quarter with the Hornets leading 4-2. But the Hornets found the rhythm in the second quarter and went to town. The Hornets scored 17 points in the second quarter and held the Bulldogs to only six points. The Hornets went into the locker room with a 21-8 lead.

Coming out in the second half the Hornets were pumped. Ryan Mohren drove hard for the basket and got fouled. Shawn Shmidl leapt high to knock a Bulldog pass out of bounds. The offense was not standing still either. They managed to put up nine points in less than five minutes. Travis Lerwick intercepted a pass and ran the court and passed to Justin Lerwick who nailed a three then stole the inbound pass and hit another three from the left side. The third quarter ended with the Hornets in a comfortable lead 43-13. Ryan Mohren stole a pass from the Bulldogs and ran the court for an easy lay-up and was fouled. He missed the free throw but number 30 got the rebound and put it back up for two. Number 30 nailed a three-pointer towards the end of the game and the Hornets won soundly with a score of 52-23.

On day two the JV Hornets faced the Bearcats from Douglas. The Hornets tried to assert themselves in the game but the Bearcats would hear nothing of it. They would stay with the Hornets all the way. Jacob Slade would nail a three-pointer early on. Then it seemed that both teams would trade threes. Then Travis Lerwick would take the ball and drive inside and hit the lay-up. At the end of the first quarter the Hornets would trail the Bearcats 14-19. To start the second quarter Carsten Freeburg would hit another three from the left side. Shawn Shmidl would grab an offensive rebound and go back up for the bucket. With 2:15 seconds left in the half the Hornets lead 27-21. Justin Lerwick got a break away run down the court and hit the lay-up for two points. Nathan Paice drove hard through the Bearcat defense and got the bucket. After giving up the lead in the second the Hornets fought back and retook the lead. The half ended with the Hornets in the lead 31-21.

The Hornets came out in the second half and continued to put the pressure on the Bearcats. The team continued to hit the three pointers and find the cracks in the Bearcat defense. Shooting from the outside and putting rebounds back up for points the Hornets seemed to be unstoppable. However the Bearcats were not just going to roll over. They stayed with the Hornets almost point for point and continued right to the end. However the Bearcats could not over come the mighty Hornets and lost the contest by two points.

Number three for the JV Hornets would be the Newcastle Dogies. The Hornets were dominant in the game and gave the Dogies no chance to catch up. Wyatt Carter hit a three with a minute left in the game and then pulled down a defensive rebound to end the quarter. The Hornets headed to the locker room with a 35-3 lead.

The second half for the Dogies was just as bad as the first. Shawn Shmidl and number 12 hit three pointers early in the quarter to set the pace. Carsten Freeburg weaved his way through the Dogies defense and nailed the lay-up for two. Number four got a break away steal and went coast to coast for the lay-up and two points. Number two found a crack in the Dogies defense and drove in for two and a foul. The Hornets ended the third quarter in command with a 38-point lead 55-17. The fourth quarter was much slower than the rest of the game as the Hornets only put up nine points but held the Dogies to only six. Carsten Freeburg hit the first points for the Hornets with a three-pointer from the left side with four minutes left in the game. Freeburg hit another three a minute later to cap the scoring for the Hornets. The Hornets won the game with a resounding score of 64-23.

The last game for the Hornets would be against the Torrington Trailblazers. This would also be a very close game for the Hornets. The Hornets would go slowly in the first half. They could only muster up 13 points in the first half. Number 24 struck first for the Hornets with a short jumper and then Jacob Slade was able to sink a jumper from the top of the key. The Hornets were putting up some good shots but the ball just was not finding net. The Hornets trailed the Trailblazers 6-8 in the first quarter. Shawn Shmidl was able to get an over-the-top pass and nailed the bucket to start the second quarter and got fouled in the process. He hit the free throw and brought the Hornets to nine. The defenses were stiff and it looked like a battle under the net. Both teams jumped and grabbed for the ball. The Hornets passing was strong, solid and accurate. A good performance but the Trailblazers headed into the half leading the Hornets 13-23.

The Hornets came out in the second half with new determination and vigor. The trailblazers were able to hold the Hornets within their sights but were not able to stop them completely. With their shooting and passing the Hornets slowly cut the Trailblazers lead until it was tied. Then the lead went back and forth. It was a collegiate worthy performance and game they played and the winner would not be decided until the buzzer sounded. The Hornets would come out on top with a 46-44 victory over the Trailblazers.

The JV Hornets completed the Winter Classic with a 4-0 record. Good luck Hornets on the rest of the season.


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