Gaels back on track

All the frustrations from a rare four-game losing streak were quickly put to rest by the St. Edmond boys basketball team Tuesday night.

Closing out their regular season on a positive note, the Gaels (13-8 overall, 12-6 NCC) doubled up North Central Conference rival Eagle Grove by a 76-38 final at the SEHS gym.

SEHS, which led from start to finish, made its first eight shots in both the first and third quarters. The defending Class 2A state runner-up Gaels fired at a season-high 70.2 percent (33-for-47) clip from the field in the contest, which featured running clock for nearly the final 10 minutes due to the 35-point differential rule.

“I thought we really came out focused and ready to play (last night),” St. Edmond head coach Adolph Kochendorfer said. “It would’ve been easy just to look at Eagle Grove’s record and think we were going to win no matter what, but credit our guys for their effort.

“It was nice to finally get the monkey off our back and see our kids smiling again. It seemed like it had been almost two months since the last time we won instead of just over a week.”

Robby Burke, a 6-foot-4 junior, ignited the Gael offensive charge with 24 points – on 12 of 13 shooting – and seven rebounds.

“Robby has had some good looks lately that just didn’t go, but (Tuesday) he did a better job of finishing inside,” said Kochendorfer. “We were able to get him the ball down low where he was capable of doing damage.”

Despite battling through an illness, senior David Flattery came off the bench to contribute 16 points, 10 assists and six boards for St. Edmond, while senior Aaron Chalstrom and junior Eddie Doyle each added 10 points. The Gaels dominated the glass (34-13) and held a decisive advantage in bench points (24-2).

“I felt our ball movement was much-improved,” Kochendorfer said. “We had a little lull late in the second quarter where we lost a charge of energy, but we picked up our intensity against to open the second half (the Gaels went 10-for-11 from the field in the third period).”

Brandon Johnson netted 11 points for Eagles (2-19, 1-17), who dropped their seventh straight game.

St. Edmond has now prevailed in seven consecutive meetings against Eagle Grove since the start of the 2010-11 campaign.

“Hopefully, we can build on this win now,” said Kochendorfer. “It was important for us to get back on track before heading into the postseason.”

The Gaels will next host either South Hamilton (13-8) or Ogden (11-10) in a 2A, District 3 semifinal on Feb. 14.