By LaDonna Swedberg
The RPAC conference is one
of the tougher conferences in the state so the Wallace Wildcats were involved in some difficult games this past week as they competed in the conference tournament.
Wallace was seated second behind Hitchcock County in the west side of the tournament and they began their play by facing Wauneta/Palisade in the opening round. The Broncos struggled from the beginning so Wallace had little trouble getting the win.
Leaders for the game were Shane Anders with 20 points, two steals, three assists, six rebounds and two blocked shots; Collin Swedberg scored 11 points, had one steal, one assist, two rebounds and one blocked shot.
Wallace advanced to face Paxton once again. The Wildcats went right to work to get off to a good start and display some great team work.
John Marquardt put up the first points of the game when he drove the lane for a lay up. Following a couple of Paxton baskets, he was awarded two free throws when he got fouled trying to drive again. The Tigers responded with a quick answer but Wallace came back with four consecutive baskets.
Shane Anders started the run with a short jumper and then Andrew Gardner scored on the next possession with a put back. Landon Swedberg drove the lane for a basket and the Anders got a put back. Before the quarter came to an end, Marquardt drove in for another bucket, Gardner put one in off the glass and earned a free throw with it and Swedberg ended the run by driving the lane.
Wallace went in to the second quarter with 19 - 11 lead but Paxton came out to challenge the Wildcats by out scoring them by five points. Gardner got the first bucket and then Anders got a basket off the glass and one. Hayden Woodcox got inside for two and then Gardner tacked on a free throw.
The Tigers second quarter charge really cut into the Wildcats lead and they were only able to take a slim 27-24 lead in to the halftime break.
Wallace came back in the third quarter with a very tough defense and a variety of players finding ways to score. Collin Swedberg put up the first points with a short jumper. Andrew Gardner got free under the basket for another basket and then Landon Swedberg put one in off the glass.
Paxton responded with two unanswered baskets but the Wildcats came back with free throws from Landon Swedberg and Andrew Gardner. John Marquardt put in the final points of the quarter when he drove the lane, the basket gave the Wildcats a 37-30 lead.
Wallace started the game by putting up 19 points and that is how they ended the game. John Marquardt led the charge with eight points in the final period and Collin Swedberg and Andrew Gardner each put in four points. Shane Anders tacked on three points to give the Wildcats a 56-43 win over Paxton.
John Marquardt led the Wildcats with 16 points, three assists and three rebounds. Andrew Gardner had 15 points, one steal and one rebound.
The victory gave Wallace the opportunity to face the top seated Hitchcock County Falcons. Wallace started the game staying right with the Falcons.
Hitchcock County put in the first two baskets but Landon Swedberg responded by getting four points off of put backs. John Marquardt hit a jumper and Andrew Gardner got a basket off the glass. Shane Anders turned an offensive rebound in to two points and with the game tied, he hit a buzzer beater to give the Wildcats a 13-11 lead.
The Wildcats put up nine second quarter points. Collin Swedberg struck first with a jump shot and later John Marquardt drove the lane. Andrew Gardner got his points off of a put back and then Anders hit a huge three-pointer.
Late in the quarter, Marquardt turned a steal in to two points to give Wallace a 24-18 halftime lead.
The Wildcats only scored 12 points in the second half; three baskets for seven points and five points from free throws.
The Falcons had made three baskets before Anders hit a three-pointer and then they had four unanswered baskets before Landon Swedberg got two free throws. Late in the quarter he got a short jump shot to fall but the Wildcat lead was gone as they trailed 31-36.
Hitchcock County put up 20 points while Wallace could only come up with five.
Marquardt was able to drive the lane for the only basket and Landon Swedberg added three free throws.
Hitchcock County advanced to the championship game by defeating Wallace 56-36.
Leading the way for Wallace was Shane Anders and Landon Swedberg each scoring 11 points; Shane also had two steals, four assists and nine rebounds.
Wallace faced Bertrand in the consolation game.
The opening quarter was a tight defensive battle. Landon Swedberg put up the first five points for the Wildcats and Shane Anders added five more to knot the game up at 10 at the end of one period of play.
Wallace opened things up in the second quarter. Collin Swedberg started it off with a three-point shot and on the next possession Andrew Gardner got a deuce off the glass. Landon Swedberg put in two consecutive baskets; a put back followed by a three-pointer from the corner.
Gardner got another bucket in the paint and then Shane Anders put up five points which came from a three-pointer and a successful inbound play. Landon Swedberg completed the second quarter scoring by driving the lane, tacking on a free throw and then putting one in off the glass.
Wallace took a 35-21 lead into halftime.
One of the keys for the Wallace offense was that different players were scoring so the Bertrand defense was having to guard all five players on the floor.
Shane Anders and Landon Swedberg each drove the lane and hit a jump shot for four points a piece and Andrew Gardner scored on two put backs. John Marquardt tacked on a free throw and the Wildcats put up 13 third quarter points to take a 48-36 lead into the final period.
Bertrand stepped up their pressure as the game progressed which created a few turnovers but the Wildcats didn’t let the Vikings take them out of their game.
Wallace put points on the board in a variety of ways, allowing them to score 20 points in the fourth quarter.
Andrew Gardner and Landon Swedberg each scored six points, Shane Anders put up four and John Marquardt, and Tanner Clough each added two points in account for the strong finish in the game.
Wallace came away with a 68-57 victory and a third place finish in the RPAC tournament.