The Wilcox-Hildreth Falcons boys basketball team avenged their January 20 loss at the hands of the Axtell Wildcats with a 54-36 win over Axtell on Saturday, January 28.
The Falcons had two starters go for double-doubles on Saturday, with Clint Gardels scoring 16 and pulling down a game-high 16 rebounds, but a real surprise was slick-shooting Michael Nelson who led the team with 19 points along with 11 rebounds.
Axtell jumped out to an early lead, including an alley-oop pass from Jacob Jelden to Brandon Benson that ignited the crowd early on, but the Falcons fought back to take the quarter 12-11.
In the second, Axtell’s shooting struggled, but neither team could build up momentum and the game was still close at halftime, with Wilcox-Hildreth winning the second quarter 10-7 to hold a 22-18 lead at the half.
The third quarter was another hard-fought period, with both teams getting into some foul trouble. Axtell stayed within striking distance, but the Falcons opened their lead to seven by winning the quarter 12-9.
The dam broke in the fourth quarter, as Wilcox-Hildreth’s offense exploded for 20 points. Axtell’s starters appeared winded late as Wilcox ran the floor, forcing the Wildcats to foul.
Falcon guard Blaine Groothuis hit eight free throws on his way to 10 points for the night, most of them coming late when Axtell tried to manage the clock.
The Falcons took the fourth quarter in dominating fashion, 20-9, taking the game 54-36 in a final score that was more lopsided than most of the game.
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