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C-EB Braves beat an old nemesis: Miller Rustlers

The Braves traveled to Miller on Saturday, December 11, to take on their old-time nemesis, the Rustlers, after losing a heartbreaker to the Fort Yates Warriors.  Even though it was Miller’s first game of the season, the Braves have a good understanding of the Warrior’s type of play: pound it inside and be physical as possible.

The Braves changed little from their history of play. They came out running and played loose and free.  However, as this was only their second game of the season, it was clear they are still learning and growing accustomed to each other and it showed. The Braves had way too many unforced mistakes. Nevertheless, they captured an early lead – 7 to 2 within the first two minutes of the game. 

When, to their surprise and that of many others, the Braves shut down the middle to the Miller big men, the Rustlers splashed in three 3-point shots to go up by four – 9 to 13.  Finally, with a minute and half to go in the first quarter, Rance Harrison took control and put the Braves back on top as the first quarter expired – 15 to 13.

The second quarter commenced with the Rustlers exerting their muscle underneath the boards. They quickly got the lead back.  Rance Harrison did his best to keep pace with the surging Rustlers; but when Miller went back to the long ball it paid off big time.  They closed out the quarter with another three 3-pointers to put some distance between themselves and the Braves – 24 to 28.

Kanon Keckler played scrappier defense than ever and stole the ball before the buzzer sounded.  As he attempted to advance down court to get off one more shot, he was fouled as the horn sounded.  Entitled to two free throws and standing all by himself on the court to shoot, Kanon missed the first shot.  But upon calming himself, he snapped the net to let both teams retreat to their locker rooms with the scoreboard reading 25 for the Braves and 28 for the Rustles.

In the third quarter the Rustlers shooting went cold and they couldn’t run with the Braves.  It was like watching a sportscar race a tractor in four-wheel drive.  Cheyenne-Eagle Butte definitely blew their host off the court by outscoring them 23 to 7, to end the third quarter 48 to 35 in their favor.

In the start of the fourth quarter the Rustlers went back to physical play and soon got within eight points – 48 to 40.  But in the end C-EB was able to squash any and all attempts by Miller to chip into the lead.  When the final horn blew, the Braves got their first win of the season and the Rustlers got their first loss – 58 to 46.

The Braves first two games should toughen them up for their next contests which will take place out in Rapid City on their annual pilgrimage to the Lakota Nation Invitational basketball extravaganza. The first game is scheduled for December 15 against the Crow Creek Chieftains.

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