Girls hoops team comes through in the clutch

By Chuck Kajer

New Prague’s girls basketball team knew when to get down to business Friday.

After a dismal first half in the Section 1AAA championship game against Northfield, the Trojans regrouped and defeated the Raiders in overtime.

The main reason for success was their play in the clutch. Despite having more than 20 turnovers, the Trojans got stingy with the ball at crunch time. And despite missing four of their first six free throws, the Trojans closed by hitting 18 straight from the line during the second half and overtime.

Coach Ron Gunderson’s team is like his other state tournament squads in many ways. The team plays strong, sound, fundamental defense and the team doesn’t make many mistakes, at least not when it matters most. The team has won nine straight and 16 of its last 17 games, and they’ve done it with teamwork.

This year’s squad reminds me a lot of the 1992 state tournament team that took third place. Like this year’s team, there were a couple of scorers, but the team relied more on a balanced attack and strong defense. And that team could hit their free throws too. They set a tournament record for free throw shooting.

Boys end season

The Trojan boys basketball team ended its season last week, and a core of seniors—Jason Gravon, Adam Gill, Nathan and Aaron Carmouche, Brian O’Neill, Tom Giesen and Mike Hoemke—saw their high school careers end. This year’s team finished 13-12, the first winning season since the Trojans finished second in Class AAA in 1997.

And despite the losses to graduation, there are some good players coming back. Tony Johnson, the team’s no. 2 scorer, and Adam Michel, another starter, will both be juniors. Tony Kubes, a starter last year, missed this year due to an injury, but should return for his senior year, Daren Geyen a part-time starter this year, will also be a senior, and Dan Geiger, who moved into the Trojans playing rotation late this season as an eighth grader, has gained some valuable experience and should be ready to contribute more.

Spring sports underway

It may not look like the right season, but most of the Trojan spring sports teams have begun workouts for the coming season. We’re midway through March and the first outdoor events are a little more than two weeks away.

The Times will be publishing its annual Spring Sports section in the April 6 edition. We’ll have full reports on the baseball, softball, boys and girls golf, boys and girls track and boys tennis teams.

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