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Cowboys survive regular season finale with overtime victory over Clay Center

Feb. 25—In what was an all important game to ensure that the Abilene Cowboys had home court advantage throughout substate, they survived an exciting overtime victory over the Clay Center Tigers 75-72. In doing so, the Cowboys secured the number four seed in the 4A West division.

Abilene on Senior Recognition Night, would have to survive an impressive start from the Tigers as they jumped out to an early 15-4 lead at the 2:57 mark. An Abilene timeout then helped reset the Cowboys as defensive pressure helped close the quarter on a 10-2 scoring run led by Taygen Funston scoring multiple baskets. The run would help cut the Clay Center lead to 17-14 at the end of the first quarter.

Three early baskets by Tyler Holloway, Brax Fisher, and a made three-pointer by Zach Miller at the 5:35 mark would give Abilene their first lead of the game at 21-19. Both Stocton Timbrook and Ian Crump would combine to score 13 of the final 14 points in the half for the Cowboys as they would have a slim 34-30 lead at halftime.

The lead would change back and forth six different times early in the third quarter as both teams traded baskets. An old fashioned three point play by Tyler Holloway at the 5:23 mark would begin a run that would propel Abilene to a 10-point lead at 57-47 to finish the quarter. Holloway would score two more inside baskets, while Fisher and Timbrook would add multiple points.

The Tigers simply wouldn't give up, and made things interesting in the final quarter. They would out score the Cowboys 17-7 in the quarter to tie the game up 64-64 at the 2:09 mark. Neither team would score in the final two minutes to send the game into overtime.

In the four minute overtime, an initial opening Clay Center basket gave them a two point lead at 66-64. An all important Crump made three-pointer would give Abilene a lead they wouldn't give up the remainder of the game. Holloway's inside basket would then extend the lead to three points.

The Cowboys would then proceed to close out the game by scoring all of their remaining points at the free throw line. Keaton Hargrave would lead the way by making five of the final six attempts to seal the 75-72 victory.

"Wow! What a game". said head coach Erik Graefe. "We're fortunate to get a win here tonight. Credit to Clay Center, they came out and gave us their all. They're gonna be a dangerous team to face in the postseason. They spread the court so well, and it makes it difficult to guard them. We thought we'd have an advantage inside tonight and Tyler answered with that. Ian hit some big shots for us tonight, none more important than the one in overtime."

Abilene had eight different players score in the game including double digit points led by Tyler Holloway with 18 points, Ian Crump with 15 points, and Stocton Timbrook with 12 points.

The Cowboys now 17-3 on the season secured the #4 seed in 4A West and will be guaranteed to host games throughout Sub State. The Cowboys will begin their post season play this coming Wednesday night against Chapman at 7:00 p.m.

Scoring Summary:

Abilene 75,

Clay Center 72

Clay Center 17 30 47 64 72

Abilene 14 34 57 64 75

Clay Center (10-10, 6-4): Jace Weller 21, Owen Craig 17, Cole Pladson 12, Justin Wright 11, Weston Hammond 11.

Abilene (17-3, 10-0): Tyler Holloway 18, Ian Crump 15, Stocton Timbrook 12, Brax Fisher 9, Keaton Hargrave 9, Zach Miller 6, Taygen Funston 4, Weston Rock 2.