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March 7, 2014

Comanche can’t close out Alva

COMANCHE — It wasn’t the way No. 8 Comanche basketball wanted its season to end, but with a 64-62 loss to No. 10 Alva Thursday, the Indians headed home after the first round of the Class 3A area tournament.

Comanche (22-6) started off the game sluggish, falling behind 17-9 at the end of the first quarter. Coach Nick Price’s team fought back, climbing from 13 points down at one point to make it a five-point Alva halftime lead.

The Indians continued to fight trying to get ahead, but came up short in the end.

“We didn’t reach the goal that we set for ourselves,” Price said after the loss. “As a team we also fought as hard as we could in the game today, to keep that goal alive.”

Senior Jacob Hammond, who joined the team at the beginning of this season, followed up his consecutive 40-point regional games with a 34-point outing. He created havoc for the opposition on the offensive and defensive end.

“He’s obviously very important to us,” senior Cody Crow said. “Defensively, he was keeping us in the game. I thought he had a good game overall.”

Crow said the biggest problem for the Indians was controlling Alva’s shooting. The Indians knew there were select players going in that they needed to stop from getting open looks, but that didn’t happen as much as they would have liked.

“They hit a lot of open shots,” Crow said. “They’re a very good shooting team and, when they have an opportunity, they’ll make them.”

Price said Alva came out hot, and Comanche just couldn’t hit the open looks it had. The Indians came out slow again the second half and that got them behind significantly. They cut it to a six-point deficit to end the third quarter, but again, struggled to get off to a fast start after the break.

The consistency was the biggest problem in Price’s mind.

“We went on spurts where we weren’t playing good defense, and we weren’t making shots,” Price said. “That would happen for a couple of minutes, but then we were playing defense, and they weren’t making shots.”

Along with Crow and Hammond, seniors Dalton Wood, Jerron Sanders and Kaden Van Buskirk played their final game for Comanche. Still, the team welcomes back a wealth of talent for next season as 18 players on its 23-man roster have eligibility next season. This includes sophomore starters Braden Ledford and Mason Taylor.

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