Tough test for Gael boys

The fifth-ranked (Class 2A) St. Edmond boys needed each of Robby Burke’s 34 points and 17 rebounds to fend off Hampton-Dumont inside the Gael gym Tuesday night.

With second-leading scorer Landon Peed battling foul trouble, and the outside shots not falling, Burke took over, leading St. Edmond to a 54-48 victory.

Hampton-Dumont led at the half after an 18-point outburst in second quarter, but St. Edmond relied on Burke and some timely defensive stops to record its second victory of the year.

“It really was a total team effort,” said Burke, who likely impressed the handful of college coaches in attendance last night. “They really gave me perfect passes to score those points. We have really good chemistry on the court and I think that’s showing right now.”

Burke, who made 69-percent of his field goals as a junior last year, was 15 of 22 from the floor on this night. Of his 17 rebounds, nine came on the offensive end.

While his numbers jump out of the box score, they came as a bit of a surprise to St. Edmond (2-0 overall, 2-0 in North Central Conference) head coach Adolph Kochendorfer.

“I honestly had no idea he scored that many,” said Kochendorfer, who is in his 21st season leading the green and white. “Robby has been playing since his sophomore season and we just expect nights like this out of him.

“He was really strong inside and everybody did a great job of looking to get him those entry passes early and often.”

The Bulldogs (0-4, 0-3), who Kochendorfer said were “in all three of their previous games,” were led by Charlie Flickinger’s 16 points. Parker Claypool, the only H-D player standing over 6-3, had 15 points before fouling out.

“We knew this would be a good test for us,” Kochendorfer said. “These are the kind of character-building games that will pay off for us later in the year.”

Konrad Laufersweiler scored nine points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two blocked shots, while Peed added four points and five assists. Matthew Bocken also had five assists and two steals.

“It really was all about those passes from everybody,” Burke said. “We’re still a young team, but we are growing with each game and each practice.”

The double-double was the second of the season for Burke and 10th over the last two years now. St. Edmond has won its last 21 games against the Bulldogs, dating back to the 2002-03 season.

Many of those previous 20 games were decided by the half, but this one was a back-and-forth battle until Burke took over in the final eight minutes.

“We still have plenty of things we need to work on, but I was happy with the effort I saw,” Kochendorfer said. “Robert (Flattery) gave us some big points off the bench, and T.J. (O’Tool) had a couple big rebounds that allowed us to work more clock off late in the game.

“Those are things that will give our young guys confidence to build on.”

Next up for the Gaels is Algona (3-0, 2-0) this Friday night inside the SEHS gym. The Bulldogs defeated Clarion-Goldfield last night, 73-56.