Turnovers and missed free throws.Those were the two things Hershey coach Dustin Jorgenson said were the two things that were key in his team's 47-38 loss on Thursday to Imperial in the semifinals of the South Platte Valley Association boys' basketball tournament at North Platte Community College.
"We couldn't get in a rhythm," said Jorgenson. "We've got to start taking better care of the basketball."
The two teams played a low-scoring first half. The score was tied at eight at the end of the first quarter and in the second quarter, Imperial (6-9) reached out to a 17-12 lead with a little over three minutes left in the first half after a basket by Trey Milner that followed a Jeffrey Dickey three-pointer.
The Longhorns never relinquished the lead after that. The closest Hershey (6-9) came after that was three or four points. But whenever the Panthers came within striking distance, they would either miss or shot or Imperial would string together a pair of baskets to extend the lead.
The only positive for Hershey on offense was that it was able to draw fouls and get to the free throw line. But that was negated as the Panthers only made 50-percent (16-32) from the stripe.
In a close game, that's a lot of points to leave off the board, Jorgenson said.
"You've got to be able to make your free throws," he said. "When you don't, it makes it hard to win ballgames."
Imperial will play North Platte St. Pat's (12-2) in the championship game on Saturday night. Hershey will play Perkins County (7-8) for third place.
Hershey 8 7 12 11 - 38
Imperial 8 11 14 14 - 47
Hershey (38)-Tyson Osborne 2, Logan Weir 1, Josh Connell 10, Landan Maassen 6, Dylan Johnson 11, Josh Margritz 4, Ryan Cox 2, Dustin Streeter 2
Imperial (47)-Jeffrey Dickey 15, Kelton Fisher 4, Justus Wallin 9, Hunter Spady 7, Trey Milner 2, Isaac Sorensen 10
Free Throws: H 16-32, I 8-13; Three Point Goals: H 0, I 2 (Dickey 2)