with the positive, though, Mount
Pulaski did jump out to an early 7-0
lead to start the game and this
prompted Cardinals Coach Vic Binkley
to call a timeout and get his team
to regroup. They did and they came
out and ran off five straight points
on the Hilltoppers.
Brandon Kretzinger then hit a three
and the lead was 10-5 in favor of
Around the 2:00 mark Gezus Oliver
hit back to back threes for the
Hilltoppers and the lead was
extended to 18-11.
The Cardinals came flying back for a
couple more baskets and the lead was
cut to 18-15 as the first quarter
buzzer sounded. Binkley’s team
stepped up their defense in the
second quarter and because of their
hustle and strong defense, the
Hilltoppers lost the lead. Alex
Coers hit a three with 3:13 on the
clock and the Cardinals had their
first lead of the game, 23-21.
sinks two late game free throws for
Kretzinger finished with a
team-leading 14 points and the 5’8
freshman also pulled down 9
Kretzinger tied the game with a
couple free throws.
Seconds later Kretzinger spotted
Lukas Aylesworth running through the
lane and quickly dumped off a pass
to the senior, who laid the ball in
nicely for two and Mount Pulaski had
earned the lead back, 25-23.
It would be Peyton Taylor padding
the lead with two points off the
offensive rebound and just like that
the Hilltoppers were back on track,
But with 1:11 left to play in the
second quarter the Hilltoppers would
begin to roll off the track. Their
leading scorer for the season, Gezus
Oliver, apparently rolled an ankle
and after laying on the court for
several minutes, he had to be
carried off by teammates. Oliver’s
ankle looked pretty bad as he left
the gym at halftime.
Meanwhile Mount Pulaski could not
get another basket the rest of the
quarter, but neither could the
Cardinals. The Hilltoppers lead at
the half stayed at 27-23.
It was nice to stare at the halftime
lead because it did disappear in the
third quarter early and the
Hilltoppers had to fight their way
Andrew Butts tied the game at 27-27
with his basket, but then Mount
Pulaski answered back with four
points, two nice plays in the paint
here in fact. First it was
Kretzinger finding Aylesworth open
again in the lane and dishing off to
him for two points. Then Nate Dyer
found Taylor sneaking into the paint
and he quickly tossed the ball into
him for another two points. Good
strong, quick ball movement from the
Hilltoppers to get the lead back,
31-27 the score.
But Butts and Coers on the Cardinals
side had something else to say about
that. They answered by first going
baseline (Butts) and then hitting a
jumper (Coers) and the game was tied
Mount Pulaski failed to score on
the next opportunity so the
Cardinals’ Joe Gustafson decided he
would just go to the basket with a
nice little finger roll, and he did.
The Cardinals were back on top
Taylor tied it up again with just
under two minutes to play in the
quarter and then Warrensburg took
the lead back, again. This game of
back and forth ended with Kretzinger
stopping and popping a sweet little
jumper good for two points and as
the third quarter buzzer sounded the
game was tied 35-35.
Moving on to the fourth quarter. The
first nearly four minutes of the
quarter here saw very little scoring
action for either team, but it would
be the Cardinals jumping out to a
39-37 lead with 4:32 showing on the
The Cardinals did not even have to
look over their shoulder from this
point on. The turnovers that ensued
and the missed free throws just
allowed the Hilltoppers to write
their own story.
top of second column]
The fourth quarter has been a
struggle all season for Mount
Pulaski and this was just more of
the same, sadly. Giving due credit
to Jarius Ingram of
Warrensburg-Latham, though. The
sophomore hit a jumper for the
Cardinals and then quickly stole the
ball from the Hilltoppers just after
they inbounded it and promptly
turned around and connected for the
three. The Cardinals lead would be
44-37 after all this.
Mount Pulaski called a timeout at
2:32 after Dyer made two free
throws, but Warrensburg-Latham was
still in command with the 45-39
The final two minutes of the game
the Cardinals continued to control
pretty much. A game of keep away
ensued and the Hilltoppers just had
to foul. At least the Cardinals did
not score for about a minute, but
neither did Mount Pulaski.
Finally Kretzinger would go to the
line and sink two free throws and
then seconds later he would get
another chance at the line and sink
1 of 2 free throws. The lead was cut
to 45-42, but time was running out
for Mount Pulaski.
Coers hit his free throws for the
Cardinals and the lead was 47-42
with 29.5 seconds left. Gustafson
also hit a couple free throws for
the Cardinals near the end and the
lead was 49-42.
It was a great effort by Aylesworth
of Mount Pulaski in the final twelve
seconds of the game to knock down
five points, one basket coming on a
surprise three point shot, but it
was a little too late.
Coers hit two more free throws with
1.4 seconds left to send the
Cardinal fans home happy with a
Coers finished with 18 points for
the Cardinals, while Butts finished
with 13 points.
Kretzinger led Mount Pulaski with
14 points and it was Taylor with the
double-double, 10 points and 10
rebounds on the night.
The real story here: free throws.
Mount Pulaski shot 5 for 13 in the
fourth quarter and
Warrensburg-Latham was 9 for 14 at
the line in the final quarter. A
game-deciding factor for the home
team for sure.
Mount Pulaski falls to 1-4 on the
season and will travel to Cerro
Gordo Friday night.
The Mount Pulaski JV also fell to
Dustin Murphy led the JV with 11
points and AJ Speasl had 14 points
for the Cardinals.
Mount Pulaski scoring