Blake Eckelberry, (45) scores two points in Blazer freshmen basketball action versus Bishop Miege at home Dec 8. The team hosted Olathe North Dec. 12 and traveled to Blue Valley Southwest Dec. 17.  Photo courtesy of Plank Photography

Dave Switzer
Special to The Gardner News 
The Gardner Edgerton boys’ varsity basketball team is off to a tough start, losing a heartbreaker to Mill Valley on Dec. 6 and falling to a talented Bishop Miege club on Dec. 9.
Against Mill Valley, the Blazers and Jaguars engaged in a taut, extremely competitive contest that was close throughout.
GE led 15-14 after one period and kept that advantage at 32-31 at the break. Mill Valley tied the score at 46 entering the final frame. Each team scored 20 points in that period, forcing an overtime with the score tied at 66.  It remained tied after the first extra stanza before the Jags pulled out a razor thin 76-75 double overtime win.
Despite the loss, head coach Jeff Langrehr was pleased with how his team played in a spine-tingling season lid lifter.
“I thought our kids played hard, and we came up with big play after big play in a thrilling season opener,” Langrehr said. “Really, the game was one of the more entertaining games that I have been apart of. Unfortunately, Nathan Stacey of Mill Valley was unstoppable for us. His 40-point performance was the highest of any player against a team of mine in nearly 400 career games coached. We had some kids come up big as well, including Tanner Webb, who hit several huge shots for us in his 28 point performance. The road environment was tough, and we definitely had some unfortunate breaks go against us, highlighted by the loose ball foul with three seconds left in the game. But, our kids showed great heart and competitiveness that we can build upon.  Our inability to keep our big men out of foul trouble was crucial to the game’s outcome.”
Webb’s 28-point performance led the club. The six-foot senior guard had three triples on the way to his big night. Three other players were also in double digits for scoring-Traevohn Wrench with 13, Zach Hickman with 12, and Kyle Huppe with 10.  Matt Plank added four, Chip Kueffer and Ben Carpenter had three points each and Dillon Dodson and CJ Hall each had two points.
The team returned to the hardwoods three nights later when they traveled to meet league foe Bishop Miege.  The Blazers fell behind early, trailing 15-8 after one period before battling back to tie the game at 20 at the break.
Miege broke the tie with a 17-7 run in the third quarter and then held on for a hard-fought 50-39 triumph.
Webb again led the club in scoring, this time with 11 points.  Hall was right behind him with 10.  Huppe had eight, Hickman had six, and Wrench added four to the final point total.
The Blazers will play their first home game on Dec. 16 when they entertain Blue Valley Southwest.  Results of a game with Olathe North on Dec. 13 were not available at press time.

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