File photo: Basketball

Grand Island Central Catholic boys game against Kearney Catholic Friday night at GICC felt like a state playoff game with two familiar foes facing off for a night of evenly matched basketball.

The game was as advertised, a battle until the end, with the Crusaders coming out on top 50-44.

Stars led in both quarters of the first half. During halftime, GICC coach Tino Martinez said somethings had to change.

“We switched match ups. (Brett) Mahoney was just too good, and so was (Logan) O’Brien in the first half so we switched it up to make it a little tougher on them on defense.”

Manhoney knocked in 13 of his 22 points in the first half while O’Brien had seven. He didn’t score the entire second half.

Martinez said the second part of their plan was to get to the free-throw line.

“We had to get it inside. We thought we had the advantage inside, looks like we did,” he said. “That was probably the difference in the game.”

The strategy worked. The Crusaders made 28 trips to the charity stripe with 23 of those coming in the second half. They were 20-for-28 for the game.

Sophomore Issac Herbek was busy at the line going a perfect 14-14.

“We practice with free throw drills every day,” Herbek said. “That really helped out tonight.”

Herbek who played a very physical game said he wanted this win bad.

“It’s the biggest game of the season. To win this, it’s huge.”

Herbek ended with 21 points for the game.

Kearney Catholic was up 22-20 at the half, coach Bob Langan said he told his guys to stick to the game plan.

“Keep doing what you are doing,” he said. “We had a good game plan and stuck to that and held them down.”

Langan said once he saw that GICC was keying in on Mahoney, he knew they had changed their game plan.

“We had the lead going in to the fourth quarter, but we needed some other guys to step up and make a play. Things just didn’t go in,” Langan said.

Much of the G.I.C.C. fourth quarter comeback was in large part to Dei Jengmer who Martinez said just keeps improving.

“He was the difference in the game in the fourth. Our kids did a great job of feeding him. He was just too much to handle.”

Martinez said Jengmer was injured all last year and people don’t realize he is playing his 12th varsity game ever, so he just improves every night.

Jengmer had 16 points in the contest.

The Crusader coach said any time they can play K.C. it is a privilege.”

“Any time you can play with Kearney Catholic, you have done well,” he said. “Their coaches do such a great job preparing for us, I can’t say how good of scouting they do.”

“It’s a big win anytime you can get a win over Kearney Catholic.”

Langan said he told his players not to feel bad about the loss.

“We have the bus ride home to maybe hang our heads a little bit and think about this, but tomorrow we have North Platte coming in and we have three games next week against some pretty good teams, so we just have to start playing,” he said. “These are just learning experiences to build on.”

Kearney Catholic 12 10 12 10—44

GICC 13 7 10 20—50

KEARNEY CATHOLIC — Logan O’Brien 7, Kegan Bosshamer 2, Brandt Groskreutz 2, Blake Thiele 8, Brett Mahoney 24.

GICC — Russ Martinez 2, Koby Bales 12, Tanner Turek 3, Issac Herbek 21, Marcus Lowry 3, Dei Jengmer 16.

GIRLS

Kearney Catholic 56, GICC 48

The girls’ game wasn’t as smooth of sailing, more like rough waters for the Crusaders as they fell 56-48 to Kearney Catholic.

After ending the first quarter tied with Kearney Catholic, the Crusaders led at the half 27-25.

The third quarter K.C. took the lead and went on from there for the win.

Stars coach Rick Petri said his girls were maybe not aggressive enough the first half.

“I thought we played a competitive first half, maybe threw the ball away too much,” he said. “We kind of let Riley (Rice) do her thing and we just kind of wanted to shut that down a little more.”

Rice poured in 18 points for GICC in the losing effort.

G.I.C.C. got into foul trouble in the game, and had a lot of miscues on both sides of the ball said

GICC coach Stacia Rice said she was not pleased with how her girls played.

“Kearney (Catholic) just played better than we did. They had a lot more girls make some outside shots and we didn’t,” she said. “

Rice said her girls just weren’t ready to play today.

“You could tell that with our defensive effort. We weren’t communicating,” Rice said. “It was just a lack of focus completely. Kearney out played us. Give them credit, they came to play, and we didn’t.”

Sophomore Ashley Keck went 7-from-10 from the line and scored 16 points to lead the Stars. Liza Trettel poured in 14 in the win

K.C. made four from downtown.

Perhaps the only highlight for the lady Crusaders is they had Riley Rice back on the court after a five game hiatus.

“She had a pretty good game. She made some mistakes late in the game,” Coach Rice said. “She isn’t as fast as she needs to be right now, but obviously that goes back to the injury.”

Rice said the bottom line was her team didn’t play well enough on defense, and that’s why they lost.

“When you don’t play good defense on a team, and they make their shots, you lose the game,” she said.

Kearney Catholic 13 12 15 16—56

GICC 13 14 12 9—48

KEARNEY CATHOLIC — Liza Trettel 14, Ashley Keck 16, Ashlyn Wischmeier 6, Ainsley Aden 7, Christina Arram 7, Alexis Keim 5.Jenna Kruse 2.

GICC — Riley Rice 16, Elli Steenson 12, Gracie Woods 7, Jenna Heidelk 5, Katie Maser 3, Chloe Cloud 2, Alyssa Wilson 2.

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