SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. -- For the seventh straight year, the Kimball boys basketball team captured the championship of the Western Trails Conference Tournament after downing Bridgeport 42-29 in the title game on Saturday night at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.
Mike Daum and Jake Reader combined for 33 points, but it was Kimball’s defense that was a major factor as the Longhorns held the Bulldogs to just two first-quarter points and only 13 second-half points.
Daum said winning seven straight titles is a special accomplishment by the Kimball program.
“I think it is a dynasty building, and we are just going to keep rolling and keep going,” he said. “It is a really big feeling winning seven straight coming from my freshman year and being able to watch those guys and thinking I will be able to do that someday. Last year and this year we set goals, and we want to keep that streak going all the way through high school.”
Daum said there was no secret what Bridgeport wanted to do against Kimball — play tough defense and slow down the pace of the game.
“We practiced for Bridgeport, and we watched film on them and we knew Bridgeport liked to slow it down,” Daum said. “They are good at slowing it down and they are good at what they are doing. But we were able to get into our groove and push the ball. When we pushed the ball up, we got scores. Then, when we were able to slow it down, we ran the offense and got good looks.”
Kimball took control early by moving out to a 12-2 lead after the first quarter.
Bridgeport came back to outscore Kimball 14-7 in the second quarter. The Bulldogs pulled to within 19-16 at halftime on a bucket by Wyatt Pankowski and back-to-back baskets by Jaime Gonzalez.
Bridgeport closed within 21-20 early in the third period on a bucket by Cody Franklin, but Kimball outscored Bridgeport 15-2 the rest of the quarter to take a 36-22 lead entering the final eight minutes. The lead proved too much for Bridgeport to overcome. The Bulldogs did get within single digits the rest of the way.
Daum led all scorers in the game with 21 points. Reader followed with 12. Caleb Reuter added seven points.
Bridgeport was led in scoring by Jason Amateis with nine points, while Pankowski and Gonzalez each had four points.
Bridgeport (12-7) 2 14 6 7 –- 29
Kimball (15-1) 12 7 17 6 – 42
Cody Franklin 2, Jason Amateis 9, Quintin Baxter 2, Jaime Gonzalez 4, John Pappas 2, Leighton Freeze 3, Wyatt Pankowski 4, Ty Weborg 2.
Zach Rockhold-O’Brien 2, Caleb Reuter 7, Mike Daum 21, Jake Reader 12.