Sunburst senior Josh Kearns draws the foul against Big Sandy last weekend at the Dutton/Brady Invitational.

The Sunburst boys basketball team competed at the Dutton/Brady Invitational and posted a 0-2 record.  The Refiners came up just short, losing to Big Sandy in overtime, and dropping a game with Centerville, 34-28.

The Refiners battled the Big Sandy Pioneers on Dec. 10. Despite holding the lead for much of the game, they lost in overtime, 52-51. The Refiners led 23-18 at half and were up 37-33 heading into the fourth stanza.  The Pioneers tied it up late and the game ended up going to overtime after Josh Kearns had his shot at the buzzer tipped.

In overtime, Cade Hanson gave the Refiners the lead with 20 seconds left. The Pioneers scored the game winner on the ensuing play.  Connor Sullivan was able to get up a desperation three at the buzzer that missed off the back rim.

Scoring for Sunburst were, Cade Hanson with 16, Josh Kearns 12, Conlan Kerfoot 10, John Buckley nine, Wyatt Manthey two, and Connor Sullivan with two.

“I thought we did a really good job moving the ball around and getting a nice balance of scoring against Big Sandy,” said head coach Nate Aschim. “Unfortunately, we battled some foul trouble and didn’t stay disciplined down the stretch and that allowed Big Sandy to get back into the game a little bit. I feel playing in close games like this is really good for us, especially in the early part of the season.”

Saturday, Sunburst had a rematch with the Centerville Miners. “We played them last week so it was fun to see if we could make some changes and try some different things,” said Aschim.  Both teams anticipated each other well, and the offenses struggled early.  Sunburst was down 13-4 early, but slowly battled back. 

They never led in the game, but had the score tied at 28 with 1:50 to go. Centerville out-executed the Refiners down the stretch and ended up finishing the game from the free throw line to seal the game.

“Turnovers were a huge part of the game for us,” commented Aschim. “We didn’t shoot the ball that poorly, but we didn’t give ourselves enough chances with silly turnovers every time we had a chance to take a lead.”

The Miners defeated the Refiners 34-28 in a sloppy game. Scoring for Sunburst was Hanson with 11, Kearns 10, Kerfoot four, and Sullivan three.

“Overall, I was really happy with our defense this week. I thought we did a good job correcting some of the mistakes we made the week before and thought we got a lot better on that end,” said Aschim. “The turnovers were frustrating, but our guys are trying to learn and I appreciate their hard work. It was a good weekend despite the losses.”

Aschim continued, “We aren’t a team that is going to take solace in moral victories and we have to keep working to get over that hump, but I feel like we are taking some good steps.”

Friday the Refiners will be in Dutton to face the Diamondbacks. Junior varsity action begins at 4:30 p.m. and the varsity game will follow at 7:30 p.m. Saturday the Refiners will host Cascade. Start times will be 1 p.m. for the junior varsity and 4 p.m. for the varsity.

For more Sunburst High School sports coverage of last week’s action, pick up a copy or subscribe to the Shelby Promoter at http://www.cutbankpioneerpress.com/site/services/

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