The Abilene Cowboy basketball team opened the season Tuesday night at home against the Rock Creek Mustangs. It was the first game as Abilene Head Coach for Erik Graefe after he spent 6 years as an assistant under Terry Taylor. Graefe and his team had quite a challenge in his debut. The Cowboys hosted a Rock Creek team that is currently ranked #3 in Class 3A and brought back all five starters from a team that went 20-2 a season ago.
Despite the fact that they did not play last Friday, Abilene got off to a fast start. The Cowboys scored the first 9 points of the game, built a 12 point lead, and led 18-10 at the end of the first quarter. Avery Bryson led the way early with 11 of his 14 points in the opening quarter.
In the second quarter, Abilene kept the momentum going early with 4 straight points by Kaleb Becker to push the lead back to 12, at 22-10, with 6:50 to play in the half. The Mustangs then came to life. They finished the quarter on a 23-4 run and led 33-26 at halftime. Most of the damage was done by their Senior, standout guard, Dawson Zenger. He scored 15 of his game-high 29 points in the second quarter. He averaged 26 points per game last season and scored 33 points in their opening win at Clay Center last Friday, despite not playing in the fourth quarter.
The Mustangs and Zenger pushed their lead to 10 at the end of the third quarter at 49-39. He scored 9 in the quarter. In the fourth quarter Abilene would use a 6-0 run to get back in the game. Kaleb Becker, scored 4 straight points and capped the run with a bucket to cut the Mustang lead to 53-50 with 4:13 to play. Becker, finished with 19 points, 1 point of his career-high in the loss. He scored 13 of his points in the second half to keep his team in the game. The Cowboys had multiple chance to tie the game with a 3 on their final possession but could not connect.
Abilene, also got double figures from Josh Stuber, who finished with 10 points. The Cowboys fell to 0-1 with the loss and will travel to Augusta Friday. The Orioles are ranked #2 in Class 4A. Augusta handed Abilene their most lopsided loss last season 64-40.