No. 4 Gael boys get back to work

New year, same results for the St. Edmond boys basketball team here Friday night.

Staying unbeaten on the season, the fourth-ranked (Class 2A) Gaels (7-0 overall, 6-0 in the league) posted a resounding 80-56 North Central Conference victory over Eagle Grove.

“These are always tough games coming out of the break, but I was pleased with our effort (last night),” SEHS head coach Adolph Kochendorfer said. “We still haven’t ironed everything out in just seven games, and we’re trying to learn things on the run.

“I thought we were a little rusty at times, but all of these experiences are good for us and will only help make us a better team down the road.”

Senior Robby Burke paced SEHS once again with game-highs in both points (31) and boards (12). Burke, who finished 12 of 17 from the field, tallied 21 of his points before the break en route to his seventh double-double of the season.

Entering Friday’s action, Burke ranked eighth among all 2A players in scoring (24.0) and third in rebounding (13.7).

“Robby’s not fading away anymore and is taking the ball to the rim with contact,” said Kochendorfer. “I thought our guards did a great job of finding him inside even with two or three guys guarding him.”

Matthew Bocken, a junior, delivered a career-best 20 points for the Gaels, while senior Konrad Laufersweiler added eight points, nine boards and six assists.

“Bocken’s capable of (scoring), but he just needs to be a little more aggressive,” Kochendorfer said. “I thought Konrad really made some nice passes after the ball was reversed, too.”

After trailing briefly in the opening minute of the contest, St. Edmond built an 18-13 lead entering the second quarter, while extending its advantage to 44-27 at the half. Eleven different Gaels saw action, with eight of those cracking the scoring column. The 80 points by the Gaels was the most since an 80-44 triumph at Algona back on Jan. 27 of 2012.

Zach Ploeger (13) and Dylan Thielen (10) sparked the Eagles (0-8, 0-7) offensively. Jake Wilde and Jordan Wieth were next in line with nine points apiece. As a team, Eagle Grove shot a season-high 47.8 percent (22 of 46) from the field.

“(EGHS head coach) Lanny (Parrott) said this was the best (the Eagles) have played all year long,” said Kochendorfer. “We know we’re always going to get everyone’s best shot, so this was a good lesson for us. We just need to keep working hard.”

Dating back to the 2009-10 campaign, SEHS has now prevailed eight straight times against Eagle Grove.

Following a quick turnaround, the Gaels visit Bishop Garrigan (3-4, 2-3) this afternoon. Tip is set for approximately 2:30 p.m.