Warriors Stampede Buffaloes in Conference Play
AURORA—The Arapahoe Warriors went on the road Saturday afternoon and handled the Smoky Hill Buffaloes, 70-54. Spearheaded by an aggressive offensive approach and a dominating second quarter, the Warriors improved to 9-2 on the season, and stayed perfect in the Centennial League (2-0). The Buffaloes dropped to 6-5 (0-2) on the year.
Most basketball games are generally won in the fourth quarter, but this contest was won in the second. After one quarter of play, the game was close, and Arapahoe led 10-9. Going into halftime, however, the Warriors had blown the doors wide open, outscoring the Buffaloes 20 -5 in the quarter and led 30-14 at the break.
Arapahoe head coach Dan Snyder, in his sixth season at the helm, was pleased at intermission.
“I thought we played very good defense in the first half. We were really happy at halftime with how we were playing defensively. We were doing a very good job at Denis Tersic, who is an excellent post player,” said Coach Snyder.
Tersic is second on the Buffaloes in scoring (12.9 points per game), but was held scoreless in the first frame.
Tersic and company made a couple runs in the second stanza, including 12 points from Tersic, but they had dug too big of a hole. Every time the Buffaloes tried to claw back into the game, the Warriors had a response.
“We were really happy with how we did offensively and how we continued to attack the basket. They made a couple runs, as you would expect a good team to do, and we continued to attack and score, ” Coach Snyder said.
The Warriors seemed to pride themselves on their tenacious transition tactics.
“Our transition game is something we talk about a lot and one of the strengths of this particular team,” Snyder said. “Particularly Tim Haas is really good at going to the basket. Tim in transition is very hard to guard. He’s fast, he’s long and he jumps quite well.”
Hass, who leads the team in scoring at 20.4 points per game, had 19 points on the day, most of which were quick strike lay-ups. Any time he had the ball in space he looked to take it to the hoop.
“Especially in transition I like to try to get to the rim and finish strong,” Haas said.
Tim Haas is one of this year’s team captains, a senior member on a team that lost its entire staring lineup from a year ago. He and fellow senior star Shane Jensen, who led the team with 21 points Saturday and is second on the team in scoring, know their leadership is key to their team’s success this season.
“There’s a lot of responsibility with that (being a leader on the team). Our team is pretty inexperienced but we are all at the same level. We realize we all need to step up,” Haas said.
“I think in the clutch times or times when we are struggling we need to take a little bit more responsibility and take over the game more,” said Jensen, who averages 14.6 points per game. “But we have a lot of teammates that can come in and do a lot to help and know their role a that makes us a good team.”
Coach Snyder knows there is room for improvement, but he likes his team’s chances as the season progresses into the heart of league play.
“We are tough to beat. We have talked about this as a team. We are one of those teams that on any given night, we can compete with anybody in the state. But we need to play well in order to do it.”
The Warriors definitely played well enough Saturday afternoon, comfortably cruising past another centennial league foe.
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