DEPUE — The DePue Little Giants had Midland’s Nick Varvil and Evan Koehler working against them in their Tri-County Conference contest on Friday night. Varvil (31) and Koehler (12) combined for 43 of the Timberwolves 56 points in a 56-44 win.
“We couldn’t stop him,” said DePue coach Charlie Klinefelter of Varvil. “He is a good basketball player.”
DePue attempted to have an answer to the efforts of Varvil and Koehler. With one quarter left in the contest, DePue trailed by 12 but cut it to three by forcing Midland into some crucial turnovers and behind two baskets from Jesse Lopez, Austin Zimmer, Jose Raya and free throws from Lopez and Isaac Reyes.
“We just can’t finish,” Klinefelter said. “We haven’t played in 15 days and need to learn to be physical inside. We can’t get over the hump but I am happy with our effort.”
DePue couldn’t connect on a basket of any kind in the game’s final 2 1/2 minutes with Midland connecting on 9 of 10 from the freethrow line in the fourth quarter.
Midland’s free throw shooting was almost lights out in the contest as they went 21-for-25 including a perfect 10-for-10 from Varvil compared to the Little Giants who only went to the line six times.
Missing a few players for ineligibility, the Little Giants were forced to go to a small lineup for the majority of the second and third quarter. DePue’s Ben Hjellend picked up three quick fouls in the first seven minutes of the game and was forced to watch his team play and was held scoreless.
DePue post player Jose Raya led his squad with 15 points while Isaac Reyes also hit double digits with 13 points.
“We are scrappy and my little guys like to battle,” Klinefelter said. “They don’t give up.”
Despite his team’s struggle to finish a ballgame, Klinefelter is optimistic about the rest of the season.
“We need to correct the mistakes that we make,” said Klinefelter. “It’s how you finish, not start.”
• Two Little Giants, Jack Barnes and Mike Guzman, wore their jersey for the last time as they are graduating midterm. Klinefelter wanted to make sure they received recognition for their dedication to the team and best of luck in college.