Minatare boys headed to Lincoln
     2015-03-05      By Roger Holsinger   
Photo by Roger Holsinger Photography - Members of the Minatare boys basketball team from left, Javier Guererro, Yovan Perez, Juan Garfio, Dominic Longoria, Tyler Koke, Terer Barnett and Adam Moreno celebrate their Class D2 title win in Hyannis Tuesday evening after defeating Cody-Kilgore, 61-41. It was the first time in 70 years that the Minatare boys’ team has earned the district championship title. 
HYANNIS – The Minatare boys basketball team hasn’t been part of the state tournament in 70 years.

That changed here Tuesday night.

The Indians advanced to the Nebraska State Basketball Tournament with a decisive win over the Cody-Kilgore Cowboys, 61-41.
After a sloppy first half, the Indians came on strong the second half to send the cowboys to the bunkhouse.

“I really think that we just wore them down in the second half,” said Minatare Head Coach Kyle Cotton. “We ran the ball well and did a lot better job rebounding the second half. I think the full court pressure also affected them. They (Cody-Kilgore) hit some jumpers early, but I told the guys that wouldn’t continue,” he added.
Cotton said at the beginning of the season he told his team that they had the potential to make the state tournament, something that Minatare hadn’t done since the 1945 when Minatare lost to College View, 37-16.

“I knew that if this team stayed consistent and didn’t back down when the pressure was on them that they could accomplish a lot this season, and they did,” he said.

Cotton said after the win that he was excited and that the victory was not only great for the team and school, but the entire community.
“This is a great win for everyone involved and the boys never gave up. This is something that hasn’t happened for 70 years and we can enjoy it now, but we also have to get back to work in order to prepare for state,” Cotton said.

The only time Minatare didn’t lead in the game was right after the opening tipoff when Clay Goodwin stole the ball and scored. Then Juan Garfio connected from three-point land and Minatare led by one. Javier Guerrero added two free throws followed by a bucket by Garfio and a score from Tyler Koke as Minatare led 10-9 midway through the first quarter. Yovan Perez hit a jumper and Guerrero nailed the trey as Minatare took a 15-12 lead. Then Guerrero was fouled on a three-pointer and in turn sank three free throws as the Indians led 18-14 at the end of the first quarter.

The Indians got into a little foul trouble as Dominic Longoria collected his second at the start of the second quarter and Guerrero was called for his third. But that didn’t stop the Minatare scoring as Garfio hit another three and Chance McAllister scored from downtown to give Minatare the 28-19 lead at halftime.

Cotton said his squad should have been up by 20 at the half but costly turnovers, poor passing and missed shots allowed Cody-Kilgore to stay on their heels.

“At halftime I challenged our 'bigs' to crash the boards telling them that would be a turning point in the game. They accepted that challenge and came out that second half flying in from all over the place. Controlling the boards really made a difference in the game,” he said.

As the second half opened Minatare came out a little hesitant as Perez weaved his way in for two, but then Dawson Gourd hit a trey, Jayden Schmit sunk a shot and McKean Jenkens scored and all of a sudden Cody-Kilgore trailed by two points.

Koke sunk a pair at the charity stripe, McAllister drove in for two and Guerrero scored from the stripe and Minatare had a 10-point lead with 2:38 left in the third quarter. The scoring continued for Minatare as the Indians led by 11 at the end of the third quarter.
Minatare came out scoring in the final quarter with Perez leading the charge followed by Longoria and Koke as the Indians extended their lead, 49-35 with five minutes remaining.

Perez scored again and then Gourd was called for a flagrant foul and Perez sunk two from the line. The nail in the coffin came when Guerrero hit the three-pointer and Koke added two more as the Indians won, 61-41.

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