Gael girls lose to Kuemper

This time around, the St. Edmond girls basketball team had no reasons to celebrate.

Opening postseason play Tuesday night, the 13th-ranked Gaels (19-3 overall) were ousted by Carroll Kuemper, 66-56, in a hard-fought Class 2A, Region 2 quarterfinal at the SEHS gym.

With the their sixth straight victory, the Knights (16-7) avenged an earlier 46-43 road setback to North Central Conference co-champion St. Edmond.

“We figured it would probably be another real tight game just like before (back on Jan. 26),” SEHS head coach Scott Messerly said. “I was proud, though, of how our girls battled all the way until the end. We have nothing to be ashamed of coming up a little short (last evening) against a very good Kuemper team.”

Anna Yung, a sophomore guard, supplied a bright spot for the Gaels with 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting before fouling out in the waning moments.

Senior center Hannah Lentsch also wrapped up her SEHS career in style with a double-double, contributing 14 points and 12 rebounds.

“Anna hit some huge shots that kept us in the game, but she had to be tired playing so many minutes,” said Messerly. “I thought Hannah had probably the best game she’s ever played, too. She’s been a very good leader for us and will definitely be missed next year.”

Down by 15 points with 1:41 left in the second quarter, St. Edmond closed out the first half on a spirited 11-2 run to stay within striking distance. Still riding a wave of momentum, the Gaels then gained their first lead of the contest by outscoring the Knights 15-7 over the next eight minutes.

SEHS, which went scoreless for the first 5:11 of the game, was ultimately unable to overcome a rocky 3-for-15 start from the field.

“Our girls just couldn’t get their shots to fall early on and then again late,” Messerly said. “I thought the big key was (sophomore point guard Jaci) Stumpf sitting so much with foul trouble (Stumpf was whistled for a pair of fouls in the first two minutes), which really hurt us defensively.”

Iowa State signee Lexi Albrecht poured in a career-high 31 points for Kuemper – with 23 of those coming in the fourth quarter during a 30-18 burst by the visitors. Albrecht, a 5-foot-10 guard, finished 18-for-19 from the charity stripe, including a perfect 14 of 14 down the stretch. In their previous meeting this season, Albrecht was held to just seven points on 1-for-11 shooting.

“Albrecht is an excellent player, and she was the difference (Tuesday),” said Messerly. “We did everything we could defensively to slow her down, but she really took over in that fourth quarter.”

Kierstyn Bauer (12) and Paige Overmohle (10) were the other offensive catalysts for the Knights, who snapped St. Edmond’s seven-game winning streak. Kuemper, which went 31 of 35 at the free-throw line, made just 15 field goals compared to 19 for St. Edmond.

Up next for the Knights is a 2A, Region 2 semifinal matchup with No. 7 Panorama (21-2) on Friday at 7 p.m. in Ogden.