Playing their best basketball of the season, the Blazers brought back first place honors from the Blue Stem Classic in El Dorado Jan. 18.  The Blazers turned back 5A ranked Wichita Kapaun MT. Carmel 69-62 in the championship game.
Gardner Edgerton’s trek to the title included a first round 58-47 win against Wichita Trinity and a convincing win against host El Dorado. The Blazers withstood a furious second half to defeat Carmel.
“This was a fun tournament and the kids really played well,” said Coach Jeff Langrehr. The team worked our plans well and we gained momentum for the stretch drive of the season.”
In the title game, Kapaun took control early with an 11-4 run. Following a timeout, the Blazers employed a 1-3-1 zone trap defense that turned the game around.  The press proved effective causing numerous turnovers that lead to Blazer baskets. The Blazers led 18-13 after one quarter.
“The press worked well” said Langrehr. I was hesitant to use it because we showed it first two games. But the kids believed in it and worked it well.”
GEHS went to work in the second period getting scoring contributions from 6 different players and netting 9 baskets.  Junior Traevohn Wrench led the way with 7 points as the Blazers outscored Kapaun 22-8 and took a commanding 40-21 halftime lead.
Back came the Crusaders within 11-2 run to start the third period and closed within 51-43 by quarters end. The Crusaders pulled within 61-58 in the fourth period before sophomore Brett Wright took control.  Wright sealed the win sinking 13-14 free throws down the stretch.
‘’We knew Kapaun would make a run and I was proud of how our kids handled the pressure,” said Langrehr.  I was real proud of how Brett stepped up and delivered clutch free throws in a big time pressure situation. It seems every time we needed a lift he has been there.”
Wright finished with a team high 19 points while Wrench had 13 points.   Matt plank stepped up with 11 points, including 3 treys.   Kyle Huppe had 9 points and provided senior leadership throughout the tournament. He sank 13 treys in the 3 games.  Ben Carpenter closed with 6, Dilon Dodson 5,   Josh Lang 3, Trevor Clark 2, and Kyle Hultgren 1.
Tournament officials took notice selecting Huppe and Dodson to the All Tournament team. Wrench and Plank were selected to the All Hustle team.
Now 6-4 and riding a 4 game win streak, the Blazers return home to host rival Blue Valley Jan. 25.