Gael boys stay unbeaten
Not many teams in the North Central Conference have been able to establish multi-year win streaks over the St. Edmond boys through the years.
Iowa Falls-Alden was one of the rare opponents that could, as the Cadets entered Friday night’s game having won the last seven meetings in the series.
That run ended in a big way behind dominant performances by Robby Burke and Konrad Laufersweiler, as the fifth-ranked (Class 2A) Gaels rolled to a 70-55 win.
Burke scored 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Laufersweiler added 21 and 16 to one-up Drake University signee Casey Schlatter.
Schlatter tallied 27 points, 10 boards, five assists, two steals and two blocks, but needed 27 shots to get it done. He also fouled out late in the contest.
The last time a St. Edmond (5-0 overall, 5-0 in league) team had defeated the Cadets (3-5, 2-4) before last night was in 2009. Of those seven setbacks, six were by six points or less.
“We really wanted this one,” said Burke, who is fielding several offers to play college basketball next year. “It feels good.
“It’s been a while since we beat them and we knew that going in. (Practice) these last few days was pretty intense and focused.”
The Gaels never trailed, leading by as many as 19 in the opening half. Burke bounced back from a 2-for-8 shooting performance in the first quarter to score 11 in the second.
Laufersweiler accounted for 12 in the opening eight minutes and 14 in the first half for SEHS, which travels to South Hamilton this evening to conclude the pre-break schedule.
“We’ve got to come out strong again (Saturday),” Gael head coach Adolph Kochendorfer said. “This was a big one; it’s been several years since we beat these guys and these kids really wanted it.
“We knew this would be our chance to jump on them on our home floor.”
Iowa Falls-Alden didn’t completely go away, using several second half spurts behind three-point shots to trim the deficit to nine. Schlatter tallied 17 over the final two quarters, but was just 6 of 14 from the floor.
“I thought Landon (Peed) did a great job on him, especially considering he is a 6-foot-1 kid going up against a 6-7 guy,” Kochendorfer said. “I know (Schlatter) got 27, but that’s still 10 below his (state-leading best) 37 a night.
“They had some kids step up and make shots, but we limited them for the most part.”
Late in the game, Burke and Schlatter – the two premier players in the NCC – shared a moment on the free throw line. Burke admitted he likes to engage in conversations out on the floor to keep himself calm.
“It’s not trash-talk or anything,” he said. “I’ll just say, ‘nice shot,’ or something like that. It helps me get relaxed.
“He’s a good player and it feels really good to finally beat him.”
Along with defending Schlatter from baseline-to-baseline, Peed accounted for six points, three boards and six assists. Laufersweiler added five assists and Matthew Bocken had seven points and four assists.
Starting in place of the injured Cal Coleman, T.J. O’Tool grabbed 10 rebounds.
“We got some really nice efforts out of T.J. and Matthew,” Kochendorfer said. “A lot of the rebounds T.J. grabbed were really big ones because they came on the offensive end.”
Tip for tonight’s game in Jewell vs. the Hawks (4-1) is set for 6:30 p.m. South Hamilton defeated Gilbert last night, 69-58 behind Matt Hislop’s 25 points.