After 10 years of a rivalry they would just as soon forget, Bishop Garrigan’s final North Central Conference game against St. Edmond was one the Golden Bears will always remember.
A fourth-quarter surge gave the Garrigan boys the final say in a 54-41 upset win over the sixth-ranked (Class 2A) Gaels here Friday night – the program’s first over their Fort Dodge-based foe since January of 2004.
Senior guard Nathan Krieps scored 12 of his 25 points in the final period as the Golden Bears (7-6 overall, 6-5 in the North Central Conference) answered a furious St. Edmond second-half rally with one of their own late to end a 20-game losing streak in the series.
”Well, we got (Gael head coach) Adolph (Kochendorfer) the first time I faced him and now I can say we won the last one, too,” Garrigan head coach Roger Froehlich laughed. ”We just won’t talk about the 20 in between.
”In all seriousness, though, it’s been fun to match up with them through the years. We haven’t always fared the best – they’ve had an incredible run of success here – but the fans always travel well and there are great kids at both schools. We’ve really appreciated the rivalry.”
The Golden Bears are moving to the North Iowa Conference next season, ending a 20-year relationship with their current league. Garrigan and St. Edmond both joined the NCC in 1994.
Froehlich’s team ended the first half on an 8-1 run to take a nine-point advantage into the halftime break. The Gaels (10-2, 9-2) opened the third quarter with a 12-0 burst of their own to pull ahead and still led going into the final frame, but it was all Golden Bears the rest of the way.
Garrigan made 5 of its 8 shots from the floor in the last eight minutes and all 10 free-throw attempts. Krieps was the catalyst, but reserve Jess Marlow also swished a pair of three-pointers during a pivotal 16-1 charge midway through the fourth that sealed the deal.
”Nathan had an outstanding fourth quarter, but we also got some key minutes from our bench and two big shots by Marlow,” Froehlich said. ”I thought we did a great job of stemming the tide after they made their run. We knew that was coming, and we answered it. That was great to see.”
Six-foot-4 post player Chris Loss added 13 points for the Bears. Loss also helped hold St. Edmond star Robby Burke to a season-low 14 points and eight rebounds.
Burke had been averaging 24.6 points and 13.1 rebounds before Friday’s contest.
”That was the focal point – to try and slow Burke down as much as possible,” Froehlich said. ”I thought for the most part, we executed our defensive gameplan very well.”
The Gaels shot just 34 percent from the field, 56 percent at the line, and they misfired on 14 of their 15 three-point tries.
”When you’re not ready, it’s hard to get going once the game starts – and we obviously weren’t ready (last night),” Kochendorfer said. ”It was a very lethargic effort in the first half, both execution-wise and from an effort standpoint. Garrigan showed a lot more fight than we did.
”We came out with a lot of energy in the third quarter which was good to see, but when you have to fight back from being down (nine points) at halftime, sometimes you wear yourself out during (the comeback). Our kids still need to learn how to motivate themselves and play with a sense of urgency from start to finish.”
Junior Landon Peed was the only other Gael to reach double figures in scoring with 12 points. Peed also recorded four steals.
St. Edmond returns to the court on Tuesday at Hampton-Dumont.
”Now we’ll see how we respond to adversity,” Kochendorfer said. ”Hopefully we learn from this. Everyone gets knocked down. The important thing is what you do once you get back up.”