It’s not often that a 16 point win versus a league opponent is met with the disappointment. But Wamego head coach Troy Hemphill felt his team was iffy in its 65-49 win over Concordia on Friday night.
“We had a lot of spots where we were definitely flat,” Hemphill said. “It wasn’t really our best game. I can’t quite put my finger on it other than the fact that we seemed to be a little tentative at times.”
The undefeated Red Raiders (6-0, 3-0) saw their double-digit first half lead over the Panthers (3-3, 1-2) cut to as small as five in the third quarter thanks to a 20 point quarter and a press that gave Wamego troubles.
“I suppose anytime you get thrown a press in the middle of a game it makes you take a step back,” Hemphill said. “But we should be able to handle that. It was kind of token pressure, to tell you the truth, and we ended up with a couple turnovers against it.”
The Panthers attack was led by junior Garrett Lawrence (12) and senior Matthew James (10)
When Concordia closed in, the Red Raiders’ stars shined seniors Sean Nordberg and Dillon Blain scored 18 of Wamego’s 21 fourth quarter points to solidly put the Panthers away.
Blain and Nordberg showed off their scoring prowess throughout the game as they recorded 27 and 22 points, respectively, and were the only players for Wamego to score more than four points.
“(Blain) and (Nordberg) were able to make enough plays for us to win the game, but team-wise, not one of our better performances,” Hemphill said.
Blain also had reached a big milestone after hitting his first two shots of the evening, as he crossed the 1,000th career point threshold.
“It feels pretty good to do something like that in your career,” Blain said. “But that’s not really what it’s all about. It’s about trying to get wins out there and we did tonight.”
Even with the comfortable win, Hemphill hopes that this was a wake-up call and a learning moment for the Red Raiders.
“I thought we kind of laid an egg tonight,” Hemphill said. “I hope it caught our attention. I hope we’re able to learn from a win rather than a loss. I hope it doesn’t take a loss for us to learn lessons and get refocused.”
Wamego will try to remain unblemished as they play back-to-back road games next week at Jefferson West (Jan. 10) and Marysville (Jan. 13).