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This early part of the basketball season for Dennis Guss mirrors the one being had by his Bedford team, which is to say both have been unable to establish any sort of momentum.
Due to complications with a knee he seriously injured last summer, Guss sat out two games. And because of a quirky schedule, his team has yet to play more than once in a week.
For those two reasons, the Kicking Mules will be better off having played in this weekend’s Warrior Classic at Emmanuel Christian. By throttling Lakota 70-36 on Friday, Bedford advanced to the finals and will play twice within about 24 hours, a departure from the yearly routine thus far in which it has played only on Fridays.
Bedford (4-0) will take on Bowsher, which beat Emmanuel Christian, at 7:30 p.m.
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Guss, who sat out the last two games after tweaking the ACL he tore in May, hit all four of the shots he took to score 10 points. A starter on last year’s team that advanced to the Class A regional semifinal, Guss is coming off the bench but is expected to return to the starting five once he rounds back into better physical condition, said coach Nick Lowe.
"I lost a lot of speed," said Guss, who was cleared by doctors one week before the first game. "I’m still gaining my quickness back. I’m still trying to get back into game shape, too."
Lowe did not have many complaints following a mismatch against a Lakota squad that dropped its sixth in a row. Bedford, which was paced by Jackson Lamb’s 21 points, led 24-5 after the first quarter and 39-9 at halftime. Starters sat the bench in the fourth quarter, and 10 players appeared in the scoring column.
"Our goal tonight was to do what we had to do to move on and we did that," Lowe said.
A scary site occurred in the first half when Guss fell to the floor favoring the same right knee that has caused him distress ever since he injured it in an AAU game. Several of his teammates hovered over him, with Lamb helping Guss to his feet. He left the court briefly before returning.
"I wasn’t worried from the fact of losing a player but knowing how hard he’s worked," Lowe said. "There’s going to be times that he tweaks it, and there’s going to be times that it buckles a little bit. He’s a very tough kid. He’s playing with some pain and some discomfort."
Lowe added that with Guss’ injury came a silver lining because "he lived in the weight room, and he’s put on a lot of muscle because of that injury."
Guss expects to encounter a heavy dose of stiffness today as he participates in his second game in two nights.
"A lot of Ibuprofen and ice tonight and hopefully it will be all right tomorrow," he said.
Kody Brewer led Lakota (2-6) with 12 points, all coming in the second half.
Emmanuel Christian 67
Eleven different players scored for the Rebels, who led 42-8 after the first quarter to win at the Warrior Classic.
Dajuan King scored 18 points to lead Bowsher (7-2), which forced 23 first-half turnovers. Jason Sandridge finished with 15 points, and Cameron White added 13.
Jason Regnier scored a game-high 22 points for Emmanuel Christian (5-3). Ryan Creech added 21, which included the 1,000 of his career, and Trent Groenhout had 10.