The Ar-We-Va girls and boys split with Exira/Elk Horn-Kimballton in Rolling Valley Conference basketball action on Tuesday night at Westside.
In the opener, Exira/EH-K outscored Ar-We-Va 21-7 in the second quarter en route to a 47-36 victory over Dan Kock’s Rocket squad.
The nightcap featured two of the RVC’s favorites and it didn’t disappoint, as the Rockets’ Drew Schurke hit one of two free throws with only two seconds remaining to give the hosts a 66-65 triumph over the visiting Spartans.
The loss was the first of the season in three games for Ar-We-Va, which also fell to 2-1 in the RVC.
Down 27-13 at halftime and 32-23 to start the fourth, Ar-We-Va rallied to within 32-29 with six minutes left, but then Exira/EH-K went on a 6-0 in just over a minute to make it 38-29.
That was the difference, as the Spartans held a 9-7 scoring advantage over the final four-plus minutes.
Ar-We-Va actually outscored Exira/EH-K 23-20 in the second half, but 13 of the Spartans’ 20 points after halftime time came via the free throw line, as the visitors were 18-of-28 at the foul line overall.
Ar-We-Va, which failed to hit a three-point basket after hitting 18 in its first two games, was 8-of-14 at the foul line.
Emilee Danner led Ar-We-Va with 13 points to go with seven rebounds.
Jadeyn Smith added seven points and seven boards. Leslie Luft also had seven points with two boards and Emily Hinners finished with six points and eight boards.
Tuesday’s one-point win kept Ar-We-Va unbeaten at 3-0 in the RVC and overall.
The Rockets trailed throughout, as the Spartans led 37-28 at halftime and 55-47 to start the fourth quarter.
Ar-We-Va rallied in the fourth, outscoring Exira/EH-K 19-10 over the final eight minutes.
The Rockets led 65-62 in the final minute when the Spartan’s Josh Pettepier drained a three-point shot deep in the corner with only 15 seconds left to tie game at 65-65.
Ar-We-Va worked the ball down the court and Schurke forced a blocking foul with just two ticks left on the clock.
In the double bonus, Schurke missed his first free throw attempt, but sank the second to give his team the one-point lead.
A last-second heave by Exira/EH-K senior Cole Burmeister from just past half court fell way short as time expired.
"That was a heck of a game. I was so proud of our fight and toughness tonight. We trailed by 10 most of the night, but the boys didn’t show any panic and made plays down the stretch," commented Ar-We-Va coach Matt Wilken.
Schurke finished the night with 19 points.
Keegan Simons posted his third double-double of the season with 19 points and 18 boards for the Rockets.
Wyatt Neumann also had a double-double with 15 points and 13 boards.
Both Simons and Neumann had two shot blocks as well.
Henry Segebart added six points and two assists. Will Ragaller had five points, five boards and three steals.
Dakota Rold led Exira/EH-K with 19 points and was one of three Spartans in double figures.
Cole Burmeister added 18 points and Pettepier had 15 on the night.