Cowboys stun Gaels

Beating the St. Edmond boys basketball team on its home court always presents a daunting task for any opponent.

Clarion-Goldfield managed to pull off that rare feat here Tuesday night, stunning the Gaels (7-4 overall, 6-4 NCC) by a 49-42 final in North Central Conference action.

Leading by as many as seven points late in the third quarter, the Cowboys (3-8, 2-7) held off a last-ditch SEHS rally with an 8-0 run down the stretch.

With the upset victory, Clarion-Goldfield prevailed over the Gaels for the first time since Jan. 13, 1998.

“This (win) is what we’ve been working hard all season for,” CGHS head coach Scott Herrig said. “Our boys played their hearts out and gave me everything they had. I was so proud of their effort (Tuesday).”

Max Gangestad, a 6-foot-1 senior, sparked Clarion-Goldfield with a game-high 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting, while grabbing six rebounds. Classmate Ryan Waters also contributed 10 points.

“Our defense was phenomenal, and we were very patient offensively,” said Herrig, whose squad avenged an earlier 57-43 setback to SEHS. “You can never be truly confident playing against St. Edmond, but we did feel like we could hang around with them.”

The scrappy Cowboys shot 43.2 percent (16-for-37) from the field and 82.4 percent (14 of 17) at the charity stripe, including a perfect 8-for-8 in the last 53 seconds of the contest.

“Little by little, we’re starting to show improvement every time out,” Herrig said. “We’ve been in close games all year (CGHS has played five games decided by seven points or less), and we’re starting to gain some more confidence in those types of situations.”

Junior Robby Burke (12) and senior David Flattery (11) combined for 23 of St. Edmond’s points to go along with 15 boards. Despite jumping out to an early 12-2 advantage, the defending state runner-up Gaels were outscored 47-30 the rest of the way. SEHS actually took a brief 42-41 edge on an Aaron McElroy free throw with 1:17 remaining, however, the Gaels misfired on a potential game-tying triple in the waning moments.

“That 12-2 lead was probably the worst thing that could’ve happened to us,” said SEHS head coach Adolph Kochendorfer. “I think our guys thought it was going to be easy after that. I guess this was just a good learning experience.”

St. Edmond, which received three votes in the latest Class 2A rankings, committed 14 turnovers compared to just nine for Clarion-Goldfield.

“We had too many unforced turnovers and didn’t do the fundamental things very well,” Kochendorfer said. “Give (the Cowboys) credit defensively for taking away Burke inside, but we need to find some other guys to start scoring for us.”

Looking to bounce back, the Gaels visit Bishop Garrigan (9-4, 7-3) on Friday. Clarion-Goldfield welcomes Eagle Grove (1-9, 1-8) that same night.