Minatare boys seeded one in MAC tourney
     2015-01-22      By Roger Holsinger   
Photo courtesy of Roger Holsinger Photography - Minatare Indian Javier Guerrero dodges Morrill Lion defenders on January 16 in Minatare. Guerrero ended the night with 21 points including five 3-pointers in Minatare’s 77-50 win over Morrill. 
MINATARE – Headed into the Minuteman Activities Conference basketball tournament, Minatare Head Coach Kyle Cotton wanted to gain some wins and momentum.
He got about half of that.

While his Indians picked up weekend wins over Morrill Friday night, 77-50, and Banner County Saturday, 59-40, turnovers and mental mistakes reduced that momentum.
“Friday night I thought our offense played really well, but we were a little sluggish on Saturday,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s fatigue, we played three games in five days, or if they were just going through the motions.”

The Indians entered the MAC Tournament the number one seed and Cotton said that he doesn’t believe there is a favorite, and that it just depends on which team has its “A” game going.

“We were the number one seed last year and lost in two games. It seems no matter who we are playing, they always play better when they’re playing us. To win we’ll definitely have to play our best ball,” he said.

The Indians have two players in the top of the state in Class D2. Yovan Perez, a junior, is tied for number one in assists with 5.8 per contest and Juan Garfio, a senior, leads the state in steals averaging four per game.

“We need to be more consistent and our defensive intensity has to be for 32 minutes,” added Cotton.
The Indians hosted the South Platte Knights Tuesday and picked up the first round win. Now, the Indians will face either Potter-Dix or Garden County with that game being played in Sidney.

Friday night against a scrappy Morrill squad, Minatare opened up sharp with Tyler Koke, Perez and Javier Guerrero giving the Indians a 12-2 advantage. Chance McAllister added two and Dominic Longoria made the three-point play to give the Indians a 22-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Morrill reduced the gap as Ryan McMackin and Victor Valles added points along with Zech Larson. But Minatare answered back with Guerrero canning a pair of treys and with a minute and a half left in the first half, Minatare had a 38-22 lead.

Minatare continued to roll through the second half as Guerrero, Perez, Longoria, Koke and McAllister added buckets and the Indians notched their eighth win of the season.
Perez led Minatare in scoring with 22 points, Guerrero added 21, including five 3-pointers, Koke scored 11, McAllister added 10, while Longoria knocked in seven points and Garfio added six points.

Saturday the Indians traveled to Banner County, a team that they had beaten earlier in the season, 62-25. Once again the Indians started off hot outscoring the Wildcats 22-6 in the first quarter. However, Banner County came back in the second period and outscored the Indians 11-10, but Minatare still had a comfortable, 32-17 lead at the half. After a halftime pep talk by Cotton, the Indians came out the third period to outscore Banner County 18-6, but then the mental errors and turnovers came out in the fourth period as Banner County scored 17 points compared to Minatare’s nine.

Cotton said after the Banner County game that a “win is a win,” but that was not the way he hoped to enter the MAC tourney.
“Banner County played pretty well and shot the ball well. They had definitely improved from the first time we played them,” Cotton said.
Garfio led Minatare in scoring with 16 points while Guerrero and Perez each added 11 points. Banner County’s Kaden Huber led all scorers with 20 points including three 3-pointers.

In girls’ action, the road for the Lady Indians continues to be a rocky one. Friday night the Lady Lions of Morrill won 55-30, and then Saturday night, Banner County picked up a win over the Lady Indians, 57-25. Lady Wildcat Paige Cross led all scorers with 22 points, 9 rebounds; went six for nine from the free throw line, had three blocks and three steals.

The Minatare girls traveled to Potter Monday to face the Lady Coyotes in the first round of the MAC tourney.

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