CENTRAL CITY — The Cross County Cougars drew their sixth team foul in the third quarter with 3:22 to play.
The Elba/North Loup-Scotia Wildcats didn’t put the Cougars in the one and one until there was nine seconds left in the game and because they had so many fouls to give late in the contest the Cougars held on for a 44-36 win at the D1-4 subdistrict at Central City Middle School.
The Cougars (4-18) get No. 1 seed and No. 8 Class D-1 High Plains (17-4) at 6 p.m. tonight.
With just at one minute to play in the game, the Wildcats got a 3-point shot from Jerrod Moody to trim the Cougars’ lead to 44-36.
With seven fouls to give before putting Cross County in the bonus, the Cougars were able to work the clock all the way down to nine seconds before the Wildcats were whistled for their seventh team foul.
The ENLS team decided to try and play defense from the two minute to the one minute mark and Cross County was able to work almost 45 seconds off the clock before a turn over set up Moody for the 25-foot bomb that cut the lead to single digits.
The Cougars committed seven fourth-quarter turnovers, 12 in the second half alone, but even then the Wildcats could not take advantage and a 1-8 from the free throw line the fist nine minutes of the second half hurt the Wildcat cause.
In the early going the Cross County team got 15 of Ross Eller’s game-high 23 points in the first half, while Caleb Riley chipped in with eight and Travis Eller seven.
The Wildcats were led in scoring by Trenton Gabriel with 16 and Moody with 15.
The ENLS team hung tough, trailing 11-9 at the quarter and tied the score at 20-20 through the first 16 minutes.
The Cougars used an 11-5 run in the third to open the lead and in the fourth started out with a 9-3 run that opened the margin to double digits.
Cross County was 19-40 from the floor, 3-8 from the 3-point arc and 3-5 at the free throw line.
ENLS was 13-33 from the field, 3-8 on 3-point attempts and just 7-18 at the charity stripe.
Elba/North Loup-Scotia (1-19) ................. 9 11 5 11—36
Cross County (4-18) ......................... 11 9 11 13—44
E: T. Gabriel 16, J. Moody 15, T. Safarik 1, R. Hermsmeyer 1, J. Skinner 3. Totals- 13-33 (3) 7-18 36.
C: R. Eller 23, C. Riley 8, D. Bjerrum 2, T. Eller 7, C. Tweeten 4. Totals 19-40 (3) 3-5 44.