The Grand Island Central Catholic boys basketball team passed its first postseason test in its quest for the state tournament.
The Crusaders (18-6) made quick of work of Central City (9-13) in a 49-32 victory Tuesday in the Class C-1, Subdistrict 9 tournament at Grand Island Senior High.
Central Catholic’s strong first-half defense and versatile offense helped it advance to the final against Adams Central (15-9).
“Getting a win in round one, you’ve got to feel good about yourselves,” GICC head coach Tino Martinez said. “I’d like to commend BJ (Blase), those guys played their tales off to the very end. We tip our hat to them. We had to fight till the end and it wasn’t always pretty but we got the job done.”
After shooting 3 of 16 in the first half with 10 turnovers, the Bison played a much improved second half, outscoring GICC 21-20. Unfortunately for Central City, a run where the Crusaders were shut down never came.
“We were just driving it to the hole a little bit more. They put so much pressure on you,” Central City head coach BJ Blase said. “We tried to beat it with dribbles going side-to-side but you can’t do that. You’ve got to move the ball. Our guys started attacking the basket more and that helped a little bit.”
The Crusaders got nine early points from Mayra Almraya, who was able to get in the lane and score as well as create off of turnovers.
Peyton Kort came off the bench to hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter. GICC stayed effective from the 3-point line, hitting four more triples in the second.
Russell Martinez’s 3-pointer gave the Crusaders their first double-digit lead of the contest. Jack Goering hit back-to-back later in the period and Andrew Herbek stepped out in the corner for a triple to cap the quarter and for Central Catholic a 29-11 halftime lead.
GICC defense was stifling early, but lapses crept up in the second half.
“I didn’t like (the defense) at all in the second half. The first half it was really good,” coach Martinez said. “The second half, we didn’t contain the ball, we didn’t talk a couple times in transition. It was silly stuff that we normally don’t give up. Again, you’ve got to tip your hat because they kept coming at us.”
The Crusaders only scored two points in the fourth quarter as the team worked the clock and took their time on offense.
Goering finished with 13 points, Almayra had 11 and Jacob Herbek scored eight for a GICC team that scored in a lot of different ways.
“We’ve got a lot of different guys that can score the basketball, so that was nice to see,” coach Martinez said. “We got Peyton Kort going early because they weren’t guarding Jonah (Bales). Peyton went in and really knocked down some big shots for us to give us a little cushion. It was nice to have good balance on offense.”
Trent Wilson scored 12 points for Central City while Josiah Ohlman added nine with a trio of 3-pointers.
“We still held a team that averages close to 60 points a game and held them to 49. Our goal is to hold a team under 50 and we made our goal,” Blase said. “We just couldn’t score. A lot because of their defense. There was a lot of positives from this, too. Obviously, you don’t want your season to end with the seniors we have but kept fighting.”
The Crusaders play a Patriots team Thursday they defeated 41-38 earlier this season.
“We’ve just got to be able to execute our stuff and play a more complete four quarters defensively to give ourselves a chance,” coach Martinez said.
CENTRAL CITY (9-13): Josiah Ohlman 3-9 0-0 9, Michael Murray 2-5 2-2 6, Ethan DeBoer 1-6 2-2 4, Zachary Rinkol 0-2 0-0 0, Trent Wilson 4-12 4-5 12, Eric Lenz 0-1 0-0 0, Charles McGinnis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 10-36 8-9 32.
GRAND ISLAND CENTRAL CATHOLIC (18-6): Jack Goering 4-11 1-1 13, Russell Martinez 1-7 0-0 3, Peyton Kort 2-5 0-0 6, Elijah Pirnie 0-1 0-0 0, Turek 0-1 0-0 0, Mayra Almayra 5-10 1-1 11, Jacob Herbek 2-3 0-0 5, Jonah Bales 2-4 0-1 4, Andrew Herbek 3-5 2-2 8. Totals 19-47 4-5 49.
Central City........................6 5 16 5—32
Grand Island CC................15 14 18 2—49
3-point field goals—CC 3-7 (Ohlman 3-4, Murray 0-1, DeBoer 0-1, Wilson 0-1). GICC 8-24 (Goering 4-9, Martinez 1-5, Kort 2-5, Turek 0-1, Almayra 0-3, A. Herbek 1-1). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—CC 15 (DeBoer 6), GICC 30 (J. Herbek 8). Assists—CC 7 (Ohlman 3), GICC 11 (Goering, Almayra 3). Turnovers—CC 12, GICC 10. Technicals—None
Adams Central 61, St. Paul 50
It may have been a wire-to-wire victory for Adams Central, but St. Paul made the Patriots sweat down the stretch.
Helped along by a strong shooting effort, Adams Central (15-9) withstood a late charge from Wildcats (16-9) in a 61-50 win at the Class C-1, Subdistrict 9 tournament in Grand Island.
St. Paul cut a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to six points with four minutes to play, but the Patriots responded to earn a spot in Thursday’s final.
“It was disappointing to lose our control a little bit there. You credit St. Paul because they’re playing for their season and they’re good. They won 16 games for a reason,” Adams Central head coach Zac Foster said. “They kind of cranked up that press and we didn’t handle it very well for awhile there.”
While the Wildcats cut it to single digits late, their four-point third quarter loomed largely.
Adams Central’s 8-2 run to start the second half was fueled by a string of turnovers from St. Paul. The Wildcats’ first 10 possessions ended in a turnover, a missed shot or missed free throws.
“We started forcing too much coming out of halftime,” St. Paul head coach Derek Reinsch said. “We missed some shots and had some turnovers that were self-inflicted. I think that if we can clean up some of those turnovers, we would have had a better shot at scoring. Once we got into our press, that really got us going and sped things up. It got us some easier shots.”
Holding on to a 47-41 lead, Adams Central spread the lead back to 10 points with free throws from Nolan Sughroue and Haggan Hilgendorf. St. Paul came right back with a 3-pointer from Tanner Wroblewski with 2:31 remaining.
With what proved to be a real dagger in St. Paul’s hopes, Sughroue hit a 3-pointer of his own to cap a 22-point performance where he shot 8 of 11 from the field.
“We talked in the locker room that it survives and advance,” Foster said. “It doesn’t have to be pretty this time of year. We made enough plays down the stretch.”
Adams Central started off hot from the field, drilling their first five shots and quickly jumping out to an 11-2 lead. The Patriots stayed efficient in the first half, finishing 13 of 20 by halftime. They finished shooting 63 percent (21-33) from the field.
“I thought our guys were confident. Once we got in the halfcourt, we shared it and moved it well,” Foster said.
Senior guards Wroblewski and Parker Klinginsmith each scored 14 points for St. Paul. Wroblewski overcame missing seven of his first eight shots to make three fourth-quarter 3-pointers that the Wildcats desperately needed to at least somewhat close the gap.
“I can’t say enough about our effort. It says a lot about the character of kids we have. They never gave up and they got after it,” Reinsch said.
Junior guard Thomas Hunt totaled 12 points and six assists for a Patriot team that now gets a rematch with Grand Island Central Catholic (18-6) in Thursday’s final. Adams Central lost to GICC in the regular season 41-38.
“GICC does not beat themselves. That’s the No. 1 thing, you have to go win the game because they’re not going to lose it,” Foster said.
ADAMS CENTRAL (14-9): Tyler Slechta 0-0 4-4 4, Nolan Sughroue 8-11 2-2 22, Jack Keller 1-2 0-0 2, Gavin Lipovsky 1-4 0-0 3, Thomas Hunt 4-5 4-5 12, Haggan Hilgendorf 6-10 3-4 15, Landon Weber 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 21-33 13-15 61.
ST. PAUL (16-9): Parker Klinginsmith 6-11 1-3 14, Jackson Seward 1-3 0-0 2, Tanner Wroblewski 4-14 2-2 14, Thomas Wroblewski 1-3 0-0 2, Wyatt Placke 1-2 0-0 3, Jayden Byabato 3-9 1-3 8, Carson Morgan 2-3 1-1 5, Joseph Maus 0-1 0-0 0, Logan Vogel 1-2 0-2 2. Totals 19-48 5-11 50.
Adams Central...........14 16 12 19—61
St. Paul......................9 14 4 23—50
3-point field goals—AC 6-13 (Sughroue 4-5, Keller 0-1, Lipovsky 1-3, Hunt 0-1, Hilgendorf 0-2, Weber 1-1). SP 7-22 (Klinginsmith 1-3, Seward 0-2, Ta. Wroblewski 4-9, Th. Wroblewski 0-1, Placke 0-1, Byabato 1-5). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—AC 17 (Sughroue, Hunt 4), SP 22 (Seward 7). Assists—AC 9 (Hunt 6), SP 6 (Ta. Wroblewski 3). Turnovers—AC 15, SP 15. Technicals—None