Warriors Struggle to Close Gap in Second Half; Fall to No. 19 Broncos

FREMONT, Neb. – Midland University’s men’s basketball team has shown multiple times this season that they can battle with some of the best and Wednesday night was no different. The Warriors (4-6, 2-3 GPAC) went toe-to-toe with the No. 19 Hastings Broncos (8-2, 4-1 GPAC) before falling just short in a 64-60 loss at Wikert Event Center.

Even in a loss, the Warriors continued to showcase their tenacity and relentlessness as the Broncos came out and dominated the first 10 minutes of the game. Hastings led Midland 15-5 with just under 10 minutes to play in a game that didn’t see much offense.

With the ball not bouncing their way, the Warriors dug deep to find a way to get back into the game. After trailing 15-5 at the midway point, a three-pointer from senior Reggie Gradwell sparked a 12-2 run to tie the game at 17-17 with five minutes left before the intermission.

Just a couple of minutes later, freshman Dillon Faubel went on a 5-0 run of his own, hitting a three-pointer with two and a half minutes left to give Midland its first lead of the game, 22-21. However the Broncos came back to tie the game 26-26 at halftime.

Midland dug itself into another big hole in the second half. After playin even with the Broncos for the first few minutes of the second half, the Broncos began to put some distance between themselves and the home team. Midland trailed in between three and seven points until just under the eight minute mark.

Suddenly, an 8-2 run put Hastings ahead by nine with six minutes to play, and the Warriors had to dig deep yet again.

The teams traded baskets for the next couple of minutes, which allowed Hastings to cling to a seven-point lead. Gradwell knocked down another three-pointer with three minutes to pull Midland to with four, and spark another run.

Gradwell’s three sparked a 7-0 run as sophomore Sam Brown scored the next four points for Midland to tie the game with a minutes and a half left in the game.

In the final minute, Brendan Lipovsky’s layup put the Broncos up 60-58. Ten seconds later, a layup from junior Bryce Parsons tied the game at 60-60. Parsons was fouled, but missed the potential go-ahead free throw.

After a timeout, Kevin Miller’s made layup put the Broncos ahead 62-60. On Midand’s final possession, a layup from junior DJ Deere rimmed out and came down in the hands of Hastings’ Bart Hiscock. After a foul, Hiscock made two free throws to end the game and get Hastings out of Fremont with a 64-60 win.

Hiscock led the Broncos with 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Hastings also got double-digit performances from Miller and Zach Kitten, who scored 12 and 11 points, respectively.

Parsons paced the Warriors with 16 points on 8-13 shooting. Brown also recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, including four crucial points in the games closing minutes to give Midland a chance to win. Deere and Gradwell each finished with nine points off the bench as well.

Midland was just 39.1 percent from the field, not far off from Hastings’ mark of 42.1 percent, but the big difference was free throws. Hastings was 12-19 (63.2 percent), while Midland was just 2-7 (28.6 percent). Points weren’t easy to come by Wednesday, and the Warriors left too many on the court to complete the upset.

The Warriors hit the court again on Saturday, December 1 for an exhibition game with Northwest Missouri State in Maryville, Missouri. After that, Midland has another tough conference test when the Warriors travel to Sioux City, Iowa, to take on the No. 2 Morningside (8-0, 5-0 GPAC). Tipoff on Wednesday, December 5 is set for 8:00 p.m.