NAPOLEON – Entering their game Saturday night at the Grand Canyon at Napoleon High School, Rams headman Kris Lymanstall knew his team would be facing a big differential vs the Wildcats.
Napoleon had 5 players listed at 6′ 2′” or above, while the undersized Rams had just one on their roster listed at over 6′ 2″, Luke Harris.
The Wildcats jumped out to a quick 12-2 lead within the first 4 minutes of the contest, growing to as much as 17-5. Although height was a disadvantage, being out hustled seemed to be the Rams issue initially.
After a Tinora timeout, the Rams seemed to be a little more energized and the offensive and defensive flow more in sync. Tinora trailed Napoleon 21-11 after one quarter of play. Tinora’s Luke Harris bucketed six points in the quarter.
Entering the second quarter, the Rams needed a spark. That spark came after Napoleon’s Caden Kruse steal and dunk. After the dunk, Kruse was whistled for a technical foul for taunting the Rams Aiden Rittenhouse.
This play seemed to ignite the Tinora basketball team and it’s fans.
Tinora would go on to score 17 points in the second quarter, A Rittenhouse three cut the lead to 30-28 with just over 60 seconds left in the half. Napoleon took a 32-28 lead at the half.
Kruse had nine for the ‘Cats as the teams entered the locker room, while Harris led the Rams with 14.
Both Andrew Williams of Napoleon and Tinora’s Gavin Eckert spent much of the initial half on the bench, each with two fouls.
The third quarter saw more tight, tough defense by both teams as things began to get more physical as the quarter played on. Napoleon would stretch the lead to as much as 10, but hanging tough throughout, Tinora would close the gap to five with just over a minute remaining, but a three pointer at the buzzer to end the third by Kruse would increase the Wildcats lead to 49-39 after three.
More of the same in the fourth from both teams, physical play, The lead would again stretch to as much as 1o on several occasions. But not willing to quit, again the Rams battled back, cutting the Wildcats lead to 52-47 after an Aiden Rittenhouse three with just over a minute remaining in the game.
Napoleon’s Caden Kruse would end the game with a steal and a thunderous dunk, his second of the night, capping off his game high 24 point performance. Kruse would nail four three pointers in the ‘Cats victory.
Unfortunately for the Rams, they could get no closer as Napoleon would hit their free throws in the final 45 seconds, going on to defeat Tinora, 59-49.
Tinora drops to 2-1, the Rams are back at in next Saturday 12/10 vs Holgate at home.
Napoleon improves to 2-1, the Wildcats play at home vs Patrick Henry on Tuesday, 12/6.
Freshman Napoleon 44 Tinora 24
JV Napoleon 39 Tinora 39 (Welling 14)