A timeout drew the Kearney Bulldogs to their bench only 140 seconds into the Missouri Class 4 semifinals Thursday. In a meeting with defending-champion Vashon, the Bulldogs had hoped to slow the tempo of the game with patient offense and an outwardly stated goal of securing at least one shot per possession.
By the time this first break came, Kearney already stared at an eight-point deficit. It had attempted only one shot.
And on it went.
Vashon ran past Kearney 58-42 in the Class 4 semifinals Thursday at Mizzou Arena, sending the Bulldogs into Friday’s third-place game.
“The start to the game was pretty tough for us, especially when you take one shot and you’re down eight points,” Kearney coach Kirk Stegeman said. “You don’t have a lot of room for error.”
Kearney (21-8) was effective with its halfcourt zone defense, but it turned the ball over 19 times, allowing Vashon to run in transition and then set up its press. The Vashon starters accounted for all 58 points.
Kearney senior point guard Dylan Ritz had a game-best 16 points.
“We knew they were going to press us and be up in our shorts,” Ritz said. “It’s kind of a catch-22 because you have to be aggressive but still run the offense.”