By Brian McKim
The Falls City Tiger boy basketball team wrapped up the 2017-18 season with an overall 14-11 record. The Tigers won seven out of nine at home but dropped seven out of sixteen on the road. The Tigers schedule was a tough one this season. FC began the season with a win over Syracuse, the number seven seed in the Class C1 state tournament team, 47-46.
The Tigers dropped a heartbreaker to the number three seed in the C1 tournament Broken Bow, 50-48. Falls City picked up a big home win over the Class D1 State Champions Lourdes Central Knights 49-46 in overtime. The Tigers dropped another close game on the road to the Class D1 state tournament number six seeded Johnson-Brock Eagles 60-57. The Eagles, after losing to Lourdes in the state semifinal game took third place. Finally, Falls City fell to fourth-seeded team in Class C2 Elmwood-Murdock 67-32. Falls City outscored its opponents this season 1286-1256. The Tigers made 42 percent of their shot attempts (483-1148) and their foes also hit 42 percent of their efforts (481-1136.)
The Tigers owned a rebounding edge at 670-508 and had 232 team assists to 184 for their counterparts. Brandt Chapple led the Tigers offense with 408 points for a per game average of 17. Collin Cook added 245 points for a 9.9 ppg average. Rudy Vrtiska was next with 201 points and an 8.3 ppg average, and Mason Crawford came on to average 6.8 ppg and score 171 for the season. Jake Craig added 124 points to average five ppg. Chapple led the team in rebounds with 180 for the season and Craig was right behind with 140, including a team-high 50 offensive boards. Vrtiska added 107 and Cook was next with 74. Cook led the playmaking with 45 assists, and Vrtiska was right behind with 41, while Crawford chipped in another 37.
Craig was significant under the hoop on defense as he led the team with 30 blocked shots. Chapple led the team with 44 steals while Vrtiska added 34. Chapple led the Tigers from three-point range as well hitting 41-146, while Crawford made 25-44 and Cook hit 45-74 attempts. Falls City will have to replace Vrtiska, Chapple, and Craig next season but look for Cook, Crawford and Cade Schawang to step up and lead the Tigers. “Very happy with the effort all season long,” said Coach Don Hogue. “Bring back some kids in 18-19 that have some really good experience, and our JV’s had another successful year as well.”