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Strong finish makes up for slow start
Potosi overcomes 17-point deficit to collect 60-57 victory
Nothing came easy in last Friday night's Six Rivers West boys' basketball game between Potosi and Cassville, where the visiting Chieftains overcame a 17-point deficit to pull out a 60-57 victory. Pictured above is Potosi junior Hunter Leibfried surrounded by Cassville defenders (from left) Ryan Kirschbaum, Cole Adams, Elijah Okey and Codi Schwab.

CASSVILLE - They trailed the host Comets by 17 points midway through the second quarter, but that didn’t deter the Potosi varsity boys’ basketball team from leaving Cassville last Friday night with a 60-57 victory.

Friday’s Six Rivers West conference opener was shaping up to be a blow out, as Cassville sophomore  Ty Kartman had the hot hand early on in the contest.

The host Comets held a 19-10 lead after the first quarter of play, which they extended to 28-11 three minutes into the second quarter.

Luckily for coach Mike Uppena’s Chieftains, they put together a 12-2 scoring run to close out the first half, and trailed just 30-23 going into the locker room.

Potosi’s top player, Hunter Leibfried, missed the last three minutes of the first half, as he was being treated in the locker room for an ankle injury.

He did come back out for the second half, scoring six of his eight points in the final two quarters.

Kartman also spent some time on the bench in the second quarter after picking up his second foul. The sophomore still managed to score 16 points in the first two quarters.

In the third quarter, coach Denny Uppena’s squad saw its lead go as high as 10 points and as low as four, but went into the fourth quarter with a 48-41 advantage.

Potosi wasted no time in making their run though, as they scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to take a 50-48 lead.

Fueling Potosi’s run, was junior Mitch Langkamp, who scored eight points, including two 3-pointers to open the fourth quarter.

Cassville tied the game at 50-50 with 3:37 to play, when sophomore Cole Adams knocked down two free throws.

But once the Chieftains took a 52-50 lead on a basket by Spencer Hawes, they never trailed again.

Coach Mike Uppena’s squad sealed the win at the free throw line by making 6-of-10 charity tosses in the final 1:18, and ended up outscoring the Comets 19-9 in the fourth quarter.

“I think their depth was a real advantage for them,” said Cassville coach Denny Uppena. “They were able to keep fresh legs in the game.”

That didn’t go unnoticed by the younger Uppena either, who utilized a deep bench to complete the comeback.

“I think the big key towards the end was that they started missing a few shots in the fourth quarter, maybe because the legs were going a little bit,” Mike Uppena said.

“I think the guys never once panicked and never thought that they couldn’t come back from being down, and that was a huge key for the game,” added Mike. “Both teams I thought, fought extremely hard for that game.”

Leading Potosi with 22 points was Mitch Langkamp, while Tom Keene added 10, and Hunter Leibfried and Spencer Hawes each had eight.

Leibfried also pulled down a team-high 15 rebounds and had four assists, while Hawes had five assists and five of his team’s 12 steals.

As a team, the Chieftains made 21-of-64 (33%) field goal attempts, including 5-of-18 (28%68%) from 3-point range. They were 13-of-19 () from the free throw line and committed seven turnovers.

Cassville was led by Ty Kartman, who finished with 26 points and was 6-of-10 from behind the 3-point arc. Kartman also finished with seven rebounds and three assists.

Cody Schwab added 10 points and 10 boards for the Comets, while Cole Adams had six points and four assists.

Cassville made 22-of-50 (44%) field goal attempts, including 7-of-14 (50%) from downtown. They were 6-of-10 (60%) from the charity stripe and committed 15 turnovers.

Perhaps last Friday night’s contest was a preview of things to come in the next couple of years, as there are a lot of similarities among the two young squads.

“With these two teams I see some pretty good battles in the next couple of years,” said Denny Uppena. “They have a lot of juniors, we have a lot of sophomores. It had to be a fun game to watch.”

Cassville (1-2, 0-1) will look to collect their first conference win this Thursday night when they travel to Highland (1-2, 0-0).

Following this past Tuesday night’s non-conference contest against visiting Black Hawk, Potosi (3-0, 1-0) hosts Benton (4-0, 1-0) this Thursday night in a battle of unbeatens.

Potosi 60, Cassville 57
(from Friday, Dec. 9)
Potosi    10    13    18    19 - 60
Cassville    19    11    18    9 - 57
- Jase Udelhofen 4, Hunter Leibfried 8, Tom Keene 10, Mitch Langkamp 22, Alex Wright 2, Spencer Hawes 8, Tim Fritz 6. Totals - 21 13-21 60.
Cassville - Ty Kartman 26, Vince Reynolds 3, Cole Adams 6, Josh Mumm 7, Ryan Kirschbaum 5, Cody Schwab 10. Totals - 22 6-9 57.
3-point goals - P: Langkamp 3, Fritz 2; C: Kartman 6, Kirschbaum 1. Team fouls - P: 18; C: 19. Fouled out - Kirschbaum (C).