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Ottawa 61, Louisburg 49

The Louisburg boys basketball team needed to play one of its better games of the season Friday when it hosted state-ranked Ottawa for homecoming.

Ottawa was ranked No. 6 in Class 4A coming into the game and the Wildcats had a big challenge on their hands. As it turned out, Louisburg was more than ready for the Cyclones.

The Wildcats stayed within striking distance for much of the game, and even trailed by just two points with under two minutes left, but couldn’t get that big shot to go down in a 61-49 loss.

“I was definitely proud with the way our guys fought and battled and pretty good Ottawa team,” Louisburg coach Ty Pfannenstiel said. “This was a game we can definitely learn things from and get better. It seemed like we just couldn’t get that big shot to fall to get the lead there late, and I know some of the guys are frustrated, but we did some good things out there.”

Louisburg (7-8) found itself down six points at the end of the first quarter and the Wildcats lit it up from behind the arch in the second quarter to cut into the Cyclone lead even more. Louisburg knocked down four 3-pointers in the frame, including three from Michael Waldron, who finished with a team-high nine points.

Freshman Julian Margrave also came off the bench to knock down the 3-pointer and senior Noah Hill had a couple big makes under the basket.

“Michael had a really good game for us and probably one of his best ones,” Pfannenstiel said. “He had a really great night shooting the ball and did some nice things. Michael, along with Ben Guetterman, and now Julian, have given us some consistent perimeter shooting and hopefully some others will be able to step up in that area as well.”

The Wildcats, which trailed 29-24 at halftime, hung around in the second half and threatened the Cyclones late in the game when senior Brayden Gage knocked down a 3-pointer with 1 minute and 45 seconds left in the game to cut the Ottawa lead to 3.

Louisburg had a chance to tie the game following that possession, but couldn’t get the shots to fall. The Wildcats got good shots most of the night thanks to a patient offense.

“We have been much more patient when we get into an offensive set and that is something that we needed to work on because sometimes we have gotten out of control,” Pfannenstiel said. “But it was almost to a fault that we didn’t run enough. Ottawa is kind of a big, lumbering team and we should have gotten more run outs and we should have emphasized it more. If we can get back to pushing the ball a little more, it will add a dimension to our team.”

Defense was another reason the Wildcats were able to hang around as they switched from a zone defense to a man, which gave the Cyclones a different look. Louisburg was able to force 14 Ottawa turnovers, which led to some run outs, but the Wildcats missed a few easy attempts in the first half.

“We got down early and they had a great plan against our 1-3-1 and they did some things that we haven’t seen yet,” Pfannenstiel said. “They were able to throw it over the top and find a weakness in that zone. I was just proud of the way we battled back and we were right there. I think we missed three easy layups in the first half and you can’t do that stuff. That would have been huge going into halftime with a lead.

“I was a little worried at halftime because our energy didn’t seem right, but we picked it up in the second half we were more aggressive playing man and we were concerned about how effective we would be in it. I think we proved that we can be confident in it.”

Senior Dylan DeShazer tied Waldron with a team-best nine points, while Hill and senior Kohl Vogel added eight points each in the loss.

Louisburg returns to action Friday for its final regular season road game when it travels to Spring Hill. Tipoff has been moved up to 6:45 p.m.

 

LOU               8             16           14           11 – 49

OTT               14           15           15           17 – 61

LOUISBURG (7-8): Dylan DeShazer 4 1-1 9; Michael Waldron 3 0-0 9; Kohl Vogel 3 0-0 8; Noah Hill 3 2-3 8; Julian Margrave 2 0-0 5; Madden Rutherford 2 0-0 4; Ben Guetterman 1 1-1 3; Brayden Gage 1 0-0 3. Totals: 19 4-5 49. 3-point field goals: 7, (Waldron 3, Vogel 2, Gage, Margrave)