ANDALE — There was a mini celebration at halfcourt by the Andale boys following Collegiate junior Riley Kemmer's errant three-pointer to end Friday's game, a 44-41 Andale victory.
Andale coach Jeff Buchanan broke up the celebration, hurrying his team into shaking hands with Collegiate, but the Indians (5-1, 4-0) had every right to revel in the victory over previously unbeaten Collegiate.
Not only did the win put Andale in first in Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division IV, the Indians played well.
"That was a great win," said Buchanan, whose team has won five straight. "Kids played hard. Kids had fun the whole time. You could tell from the get-go that they were focused, they were motivated, they wanted it."
Andale dominated the rebounding 32-18, including 12-2 on the offensive boards.
"Two offensive rebounds on a night when we shot it really poorly," said Collegiate coach Mitch Fiegel, whose team is 6-1, 3-1. "And offensive rebounding is just effort. Again, you just come to one more statistical category where were just weren't on our 'A' game. I can't explain it."
Causing for Collegiate were Andale's Andrew Bergkamp, who finished with 10 points, three rebounds, and Gerad Deaver. Deaver came off the bench and scored four points, had four rebounds and blocked two shots.
Collegiate senior Trace Clark "is big and he can really establish himself when he needs to," Bergkamp said. "I tried to cut him off early and not let him get position and do as much as I could to keep him from doing what he wanted. And Gerad, he has long arms, and he's able to use those and keep (opponents) in front of him. He did a really good job."
Collegiate was 13 for 32 shooting from the field and its high scorers were Clark and Markus Phox, with 11 apiece. Clark only had four shots, and Kemmer, Collegiate's second-leading scorer this season, was 1 of 6 from the field for three points.
"In my coaching career, I've accepted a lot of responsibility for nights when we weren't successful," Fiegel said. "But tonight, I'm not taking the rap."
One of Fiegel's biggest complaints was the Spartans' defense. He spent much of the game urging them to play better defense, to make better defensive decisions.
"Pleading, pleading, pleading for someone to communicate, pleading for someone to finish a box out," he said.
Andale's defense, though, was stellar.
"Against Clearwater (on Tuesday), we didn't play very good defense," Bergkamp said. "We worked on moving our feet, not using our hands. That carried over to this game. We were able to be quicker and cut them off on drives and not foul them."
The Indians' guards stayed with Phox and Harrison Morris, both quick players, even after Andale starter Derek Mobley suffered an ankle injury.
Buchanan turned to freshman Hunter Knoblauch, who used his own speed defensively and offensively. He finished with seven points, all on free throws.
Andale's best defensive moments came in the game's final 18 seconds.
"You know they have some kids who can score," Buchanan said. "It's not just one guy. There are quite a few you have to guard. With that amount of time, we weren't sure if they would go for the two and get a quick score or go for the three. We had to play the style of, 'you have to play your guys.' They had to gut it up and take ownership."
Andale's Daniel Carney stayed on Kemmer, Collegiate's top three-point shooter.
Collegiate made quick passes, trying to find an open look, getting it to Morris in the left corner.
Andale was quickly in his face, and finally Kemmer had the ball in the final seconds, but had to throw up a desperation shot as time expired.
"Daniel Carney, he knew he wasn't going to leave (Kemmer)," Buchanan said. "He stayed right in line... you can't leave him."