Boys basketball: Undersized Bombers beat Panthers

Free throws accounted for 21 of Barnum's 61 points.

Barnum's Blaze Hurst shoots a jumper over South RIdge's Kayden Palmi on Thursday. Dec. 19. (Dave Harwig / Pine Journal)

At a distinct disadvantage in size against South Ridge last week, Barnum boys basketball coach Rich Newman knew it was time to give Garrett Coughlin his first-ever varsity start.

Facing the likes of 6-foot-8-inch, 6-foot-6-inch and 6-foot-3-inch Panthers all evening, Newman was asked how tall his undersized center Coughlin really is.

“Maybe 6-foot … on a good day,” chuckled Newman. “He played well. He did everything that we wanted him to do.”

Along with helping slow the South Ridge big guys, Coughlin counted seven hard-nosed points to assist Joe Peterson and Ty Asperheim’s 20 and 17 respectively, as the Bombers beat the Panthers 61-50 Thursday, Dec. 19, in a marathon Polar League game at Culver.

While Barnum (2-3) led 20-19 after a tightly-contested first half, South Ridge (3-4) jumped up by as many as six in the second frame, only to see the Bombers respond.


Peterson and Asperheim combined for four 3-pointers, but the Bombers put the game away at the free-throw line. Of their 61 points, over a third came at the stripe.

For Barnum, that’s two consecutive victories after starting the season 0-3.

Newman sees a toughness in his team, and they showed it while battling with South Ridge’s 6-foot-8 senior Kayden Palmi, the 6-foot-6 freshman duo of Austin Josephson and Slayton Stroschein, and the 6-foot-3 sophomore brothers Jaxson and Aaron Bennett.

Blaze Hurst, Barnum’s tallest player at 6-foot-4, never left the floor.

“It was a good win for us against those big guys,” Newman said. “I was happy. (South Ridge) is a good team.”

South Ridge was led by Josephson and senior Mason Lane with 12 points each.

Their immense height is something that first-year coach Phil Peliska — who grew up as post player in southern Arizona — couldn’t be more thrilled about.

“It’s a coach’s dream to have size,” said Peliska, who spent 20-plus seasons coaching at Virginia before becoming a Panther this past offseason. “We have a lot of football and baseball players with size, speed and athleticism. We can match up with anybody.”


Barnum 20-41—61
South Ridge 19-31—50

Barnum — Blaze Hurst 8, Joe Peterson 20, Ty Asperheim 17, Jake Hultgren 9, Garrett Coughlin 7. Totals 18 21-31 61.

3-point goals — Peterson 2, Asperheim 2.

South Ridge — Tristan Johnson 6, Mason Lane 12, Jaxson Bennett 7, Ben Wood 9, Austin Josephson 12, Kayden Palmi 4. Totals 18 12-21 50.

3-point goals — Wood 2.

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