Boys Basketball Week 1 Recap: A Fluctuation of Encouragement

Head Coach Benji Hoegh’s Elkhorn Boys Basketball team begins the season 2-2


Scott Avery

From Left to Right Respectively: Ben Kubicek, Axel Prince, Dyllan Bertucci, Dane Petersen, and Ethan Yungtum. The starting five awaits the tip against Bennington on 12/3/2021.

Chase Ruch, Media Outreach Editor

NSAA basketball is back, and a fresh goose-egged record is presented for every team to begin writing their story. For the Antlers in particular, a new standard has been set, with a growing jubilation across the Elkhorn community.

Three weeks of working out the kinks and plays for the young and inexperienced roster was put to the test. The gymnasium was full, the band was deafening, and the students sacrificed their vocal chords for school spirit.

Normality loomed in the crowd for the first time in a couple years, and every player and supporter was ready for another season to remember.


VS Bennington 12/3/2021


The Badgers have a senior heavy roster arriving after falling heavily to Class C powerhouse Wahoo High School 80-56. The Antlers were favored in conditioning, but the Badgers already had motivation to make a quick turnaround after the loss the previous night.

The ball was tipped, and the Badgers made their presence known in swift fashion. Trey Bird brought his football dominance to the hardwood by leading the Badgers in scoring.

Hopes had seemed to be fully deteriorated after the Badgers would take care of the Antlers 44-33. The Antlers traveled to the Waverly Vikings the next day, and prospecting thoughts of a pain-enduring season were not unreasonable.


AT Waverly 12/4/2021


The players had to rely on making their own noise in Viking territory. Some of the Antler faithful would make the forty minute drive, but the energy was not nearly as prominent as the previous night.

The bench brought newfound energy, causing Waverly to call the first timeout of the game. It was a game of runs, and towards the end, free throws would facilitate the Antlers to a victory by going 19-23 from the charity stripe.

Dane Petersen would headline in contributions with a 16 point and 12 rebound double-double. Score sharing was prevalent as well with both Dyllan Bertucci and Ethan Yungtum grazing double-digit scoring. 

The Antlers got the job done in a 56-41 win over Waverly. Surrounding spectators of the Antlers came to believe that the loss to Bennington 24 hours before was merely a fluke.


AT Platteview 12/7/2021


The Trojans have come a long way, and many attribute that to Junior standout Connor Millikan. What has made the difference so far for the Trojans though is his supporting cast that is growing in beyond the arc shooting talent. 

The Antlers had confidence regained and ambition was present to be consecutive in the win column. Platteview had other plans in mind.

Connor Millikan would drop 20 points on the Antlers through his dynamic play style of driving and long range shooting. To put into perspective how much of an asset he is to his team, he statistically had a below average night.

Dane Petersen would lead scoring and tick on another double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds in a 44-34 loss. Ethan Yungtum would second him with 9 points and 4 rebounds.

The Antlers would have three day’s time to cease an opportunity against the Norris Titans. The Firth-based conference team would be in eerily similar circumstances of inexperience after hefty senior losses of players such as Trey Deveaux and CJ Hood.


VS Norris 12/10/2021


The Norris Titans have had a full week to prepare for the conference battle and entered the game 1-1 after a loss to Freeman and a win against Grand Island Northwest. The gym would be fairly filled once again for Friday night action.

The first quarter reminisced the record setting performance form last year’s state tournament when the Antlers held the Titans to four points in the first half. The team this time around would hold them to six for the first quarter. 

This early cushion would be essential later on in the game as time became a necessity for both sides and the score would be tied at 33 a piece. Tension built up among the fans of both sides as around 10 seconds would remain in the competition.

Dyllan Bertucci would cease an opportunity by forcing Norris guard Mitch Hobza to fumble the ball out of bounds and the Antlers would retain possession. An inbound pass would be followed by a Dane Petersen and-one basket that would have put the score out of reach by four if the free throw had been made.

The attempt would come up short and Norris would rebound the ball and call a timeout. 2.1 seconds remained in regulation and Norris had three quarters of a court distance from the hoop. 

The inbound play was run and could only set up for a half-court heave that would come up short and hand Norris their second loss of the season. Meanwhile, the Antlers’ roller coaster start would put them at 2-2.


What’s To Come


The Antlers will be playing against York at home on Tuesday 12/14/2021 in a rematch that sought only a 1 point victory for the Antlers last year. The following week, on Tuesday 12/21/2021, they will take on the Ralston Rams at home.

Looking forward, the Antlers have a lengthy bus ride to North Platte for their annual holiday tournament. When 2022 turns the corner, excitement and drama will really begin to proceed forward.

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