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February 14, 2014

Indians overcome foul trouble for victory

COMANCHE — Nebraska head basketball coach Tim Miles didn’t get to see as much of his incoming recruit as he could have during No. 7 Comanche’s 54-50 home win versus No. 18 Kingston.

Senior Jacob Hammond spent most of the night on the bench in foul trouble. He wasn’t the only one.

The Indians (17-3) and the Redskins (14-6) had 15 fouls combined in the first quarter. Comanche’s Cody Crow had three fouls with three minutes left to play in that first period. He survived until five minutes left in the fourth quarter before picking up his fourth.

Hammond didn’t last that long before he racked up his foul count. With six minutes left, Indian boys coach Nick Price was forced to sub his center in with four fouls.

“I just thought, we need to get the most out of him we can get,” Price said. “If he fouls out, he fouls out. We needed to get as many however many minutes we could out of him.”

Even with the foul trouble, Hammond still finished with 19 points. He could have easily had more but struggled at the line, hitting 9 of 19 free-throws. At one point in the first quarter after missing four consecutive attempts, he tried to use one hand instead of two. Still, the ball rolled off the rim.

Despite all of the struggles, Hammond was still pleased his team could pull out the victory.

“I gave it all I had, and we came away with the win, that’s all that matters,” Hammond said.

Sophomore Braden Ledford’s led the way when Crow and Hammond were on the bench. He led the team with 23 points and sunk 7 of 8 free-throws in the fourth quarter to put the game on ice. Without the big men in the paint to create space, it was on Ledford to make his shots happen.

“It was crazy, because all the guys that were out there were little,” Ledford said. “We were working hard.”

Sophomore Mason Taylor and senior Jerron Sanders were two other players that made key impacts. Taylor finished with just 12 points and Sanders didn’t get on the score sheet, but Price said they stepped up their physical game in the post.

Comanche needed that as it was coming off a 46-42 loss at Davis on Tuesday. Price was happy with the energy the team came out with.

“We were coming off one of our worst outings of the year,” Price said. “We did a good job of coming out ready to play, focused, not just physically but mentally.”

For the Lady Indians (10-11) turnovers were the problem in a 52-41 loss.

Coach Sean Hushbeck and assistant coach Aaron Weast repeatedly had their hands over their eyes as they watched Kingston (7-12) pick off endless passes from Indian teammates.

“We’re a team that doesn’t value the basketball,” Hushbeck said. “Turnovers have plagued us the last month, and until we find a way to value the basketball, we’re not going to win any more games.”

Comanche has lost five straight games and up next is a meeting with No. 12 Tishomingo on Tuesday. Even with the odds being against them, senior Payge Graham thinks if the team can remedy that ball control problem, it could end the streak.

“These last few games all we have done is turn the ball over,” Graham said. “We want to win, we’re just giving the ball to the other team.”

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