KEARNEY— Emotions ran deep for the Amherst High School boys basketball team. Not only because of a comeback 58-55 victory over Ansley-Litchfield for the Fort Kearny Conference title. But afterwards when Broncos coach Eric Rippen mentioned this win was dedicated to Talon.
Talon Trampe, who died last year after battling Marfan syndrome, was on the mind of the Broncos during the season, they played their hearts out for the fallen freshman as they improve to 18-2.
“You could see from the kids’ emotions and my emotion. Everything we have done this season has been for that kid. We love him to death and we miss him and a lot of these guys might say ‘this one is for him.’ ... we battled for him and you know it’s tough and exciting and he deserves every bit of it, and so does these kids for what they have to go through.”
It was also a big night for senior Tanner Thomsen, who dealt with a dislocated finger from Friday’s win over Elm Creek. The fourth quarter belonged to Thomsen as he dropped five three-pointers on the Spartans and led Amherst with 21 points. Even with the hot hand, it still was painful for the senior.
“I could tell that he was in pain, and I just looked at him,” Rippen said. “I go ‘Man, this is your last chance at a conference championship. How bad do you want to go?’ The kid has heart and even made some big shots for us.”
Thomsen has been battling with an injured finger since last season.
“I’m a little sore. I just had to fight through it last year ... So I just power through it,” Thomsen said.
Amherst had a fast start in the first quarter when they went on a 8-0 run. Ansley-Litchfield hadn’t made a basket until the last two minutes of the first quarter.
The Broncos led 16-7 by the end of the first quarter.
The Spartans managed to catch up late in the second quarter and throughout the third quarter. A three-pointer by Jackson Henry gave the Spartans their first lead at 26-25. The Spartans went on a 10-0 run after another three-point basket by Henry and a layup by Calvin Finley. Amherst was outscored 17-3 in the third and trailed 40-28.
Momentum shifted once Thomsen got hot from behind the arc. With a minute left, the Spartans were ahead 55-51. Amherst made some quick defensive stops and the game was tied with a 3-pointer from Ethan Eloe.
One last free throw from Kalon Rohde gave the Broncos a three-point lead after a loose ball foul call, which put Amherst back on the line.
Finley led the Spartans with 12 points. Jeffrey Cunningham, who made a three-point buzzer beater in the first quarter, finished with 11 points. Henry and Caden Holm each had 10 points.
Now 16-3, the Spartans will take on Arcadia-Loup City at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Broncos face Hi-line at home at 7:30 p.m. today.
- Amherst 58, A/L 55
Score by Quarters
Amherst (18-2)16 9 3 30 — 58
A/L (16-3)7 16 17 15 — 55
Amherst: Tanner Thomsen 21, Scout Simmons 12, Tayje Hadwiger 9, Kalon Rohde 8, Ethan Eloe 6, Coleton Vavra 2.
Ansley-Litchfield: Calvin Finley 12, Jeff Cunningham 11, Caden Holm 10, Jackson Henry 10, Tycen Bailey 6, Leyton Rohde 3, Sam Loy 1.