Bulldogs Outpaced by Huskies at State
Alliance Looks to the Future
By SHAUN FRIEDRICHSEN, News Director
The Alliance Bulldogs stepped onto the court at the Devaney Center in Lincoln Thursday night, where they took on the no. 2 rated Aurora Huskies in their debut game at state. Despite their best efforts, the Bulldogs saw their state run come to an end as the Huskies outpaced them, winning with a final scoreof 71-49.
The first quarter opened strong, with the Bulldogs taking a 13-11 lead over the Huskies. However, Aurora responded with a show of force, setting the pace for the rest of the game. At the end of the half, the Huskies took the lead from the Bulldogs with a score of 34-18.
Alliance Senior Mason Hiemstra was a powerhouse for the Bulldogs, posting 11 points on the scoreboard in the third quarter. However, it was not enough to overtake Aurora as they finished the third with a 54-29 lead.
The Bulldogs rallied in the fourth quarter, tacking on another 20 points to their score, but the Huskies were hot on their trail, posting 17 points of their own to solidify their victory over Alliance.
Alliance Head Coach Michael Baker explained his strategy going into the game.
“We had a great start: 13 to 11, I think we had a nice lead. We were running what we wanted to do. We
wanted to try to make it difficult for number five to score, and make it difficult for number 32 to getassist passes. We did that for six or seven minutes,” Baker said.
Baker emphasized that Aurora came into the match up with a strong position, only being defeated once prior to their state debut.
“They’re a great team,” said Baker. “They’re 25-1 for a reason; nobody’s been able to solve that puzzle except for one team this year.”
The size of Aurora’s players affected Alliance negatively, Baker noted.
“Normally, we’d be able to overcome it, but not tonight against a team with that much skill. Their skill, matched ours, and their size really overpowered us,” Baker said.
The team feels a sense of pride, being able to play at state, the coach explained. Despite the loss, Baker is looking forward to shaping the future of basketball in Alliance.
“We’re losing three great seniors,” said Baker. “We had nine juniors on our team this year, seven of which played varsity basketball. They’re looking forward to stepping into those leadership roles. We have a strong sophomore class, so our JV team did a lot of nice things. The future is bright. We’re looking forward to the summer work, and the next season as well.”
Baker summarized the season for the Bulldogs, noting the boys were courageous in their approach, meeting every hurdle head on.
“The guys were fearless; they didn’t ever back down from a challenge,” Baker said. “Even when this was pretty overwhelming here, they kept coming, and we scored over 30 points in the second half.
They worked together. They were fearless. They worked together. They were coachable. They were responsive to everything we said. They filled in roles nicely and took on what we asked them to do.
They were just a pleasure to coach, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work with these boys.”