Another three-game week for St. Edmond

Another busy stretch of action awaits the St. Edmond boys and girls basketball teams this week.

First up, the Gaels welcome Webster City tonight. SEHS will then host non-conference foe Pocahontas Area Thursday for Senior Night before visiting Iowa Falls-Alden on Friday.

Tip for all three girls games is set for 6:15 p.m., followed by the boys matchups at around 7:45 p.m.

After suffering three straight losses, the St. Edmond boys (12-5 overall, 11-4 in the North Central Conference) are looking to right the ship.

On Saturday, the Gaels fell short in a 52-49 decision at then-No. 6 (Class 2A) and defending state semifinalist Carroll Kuemper.

Senior Robby Burke (23.2), classmate Konrad Laufersweiler (12.4) and junior Landon Peed (9.0) are the main offensive weapons for St Edmond, which has dropped its past two home contests.

Burke ranks sixth among all 2A players in scoring and is third in rebounding (12.6), while shooting an impressive 72.8 percent (163 of 224) from the field. Burke, a 6-foot-6 forward, has collected 16 double-doubles on the season.

“I’m happy with the way we’re competing against good teams,” SEHS head coach Adolph Kochendorfer said. “We could be better record-wise, but the only game we weren’t actually in was at (then-No. 2 Class 3A) Clear Lake (in a 70-48 setback). I think we’re getting closer to putting four full quarters together. We’re just trying to get better for tournaments and work on things in practice that maybe we don’t do as well in games.”

Catalysts for the Lynx (7-8, 7-6) are junior Mason Myers (18.5), sophomore Avery Fuhs (10.5) and senior Ben Mossman (10.4). Webster City, which has won its last two games, is hoping to avenge an earlier 61-50 defeat to the Gaels.

“It’s a rivalry game, and (the Lynx) always give us everthing they got,” said Kochendorfer. “Looking at the stats, Webster City has some guys that can shoot. We have to make sure we defend and try to keep them out of the lane.”

Sophomore Tanner Youngberg (17.3), freshman Austin Roetman (16.3) and junior Aaron Aljets (12.8) are the top scoring threats for the Indians (7-9), who edged SEHS a year ago, 46-42. Roetman leads Pocahontas Area in total rebounds (153), while Youngberg has registered team-highs in assists (60) and steals (41). Following three consecutive losses, the Indians have reeled off three victories in a row.

“They have a new coach in Brian Heide, who used to coach at Pomeroy-Palmer (Heide directed the Knights to back-to-back Class 1A state titles in 2001 and 2002),” said Kochendorfer of Pocahontas Area. “I know they have a couple of 6-foot-6 kids on their team in Aljets and (Roetman). I think they’re very capable of winning some games over the long haul.”

For the Cadets (6-11, 5-9), seniors Casey Schlatter (34.0 points) and Quinn Taylor (10.4) are leaned on heavily. Schlatter, a 6-foot-9 Drake University signee, leads the state in scoring and is third in rebounding (13.4). Schlatter spearheads Iowa Falls-Alden in nearly every major statistical category, including assists (71), blocks (47), steals (24), made 3-pointers (39) and made free throws (111). Back on Jan. 7 of this year, Schlatter delivered 52 points and 24 boards in a 68-59 double-overtime triumph at Hampton-Dumont.

St. Edmond prevailed over the Cadets by a 70-55 final in their previous meeting, halting a seven-game losing streak in the series.

“Iowa Falls is another big conference game for us,” Kochendorfer said. “We have to try and slow Schlatter down a little bit. Offensively, we also need to move the basketball around.”

Scott Messerly’s fifth-ranked (2A) Gael girls (17-1, 15-1) are in the midst of a seven-game winning streak. The Gaels, who are currently tied with No. 2 (3A) Clear Lake in the loss column atop the NCC standings, are coming off a 67-53 victory at Carroll Kuemper. Prior to this season, SEHS claimed at least a share of the last two league crowns.

“We feel we’re playing well right now, especially on the defensive end,” said Messerly. “It was nice having back-to-back games against two real quality teams. Up and down our lineup, everyone is making contributions, which is a good thing heading into the postseason.”

Junior Anna Yung (18.3), senior Alli Huss (17.9) and junior Jaci Stumpf (11.7) are the focal points in the balanced Gael attack. Huss ranks eighth among all 2A players in total rebounds (195), while Stumpf is first in the state in assists (151). St. Edmond, which holds opponents to just 39.8 points a night, has won all but one game this winter by double digits.

Webster City (3-14, 3-11) features sophomores Cassidy Bultena (7.3) and Allie Flaws (5.6). Since dropping five straight games, the Lynx have bounced back with consecutive wins over Bishop Garrigan (55-54) and Eagle Grove (63-45).

“Webster City has some nice size,” Messerly said. “We got them pretty good over there early in the year (SEHS trounced the Lynx by a 63-24 count on Dec. 17), but I’m expecting them to be better now.”

Freshman Elle Ruffridge (20.3) and senior Hannah Stafford (14.9) form a reliable 1-2 punch for Pocahontas Area (15-3), which has notched five victories in a row. The Indians upset top-ranked (1A) and reigning state runner-up Newell-Fonda on Saturday, 70-53. Iowa Falls-Alden (3-14, 3-11) is anchored by senior Sophia Wibholm (11.3) and sophomore Saje Ites (9.2).

The Cadets, who stunned 15th-ranked (3A) Hampton-Dumont a week ago in a 46-40 decision, have dropped 10 of their last 11 outings.

“(The Indians) are coming off a big win against Newell, and I think Ruffridge against Stumpf should be a good matchup,” said Messerly. “Iowa Falls just beat Hampton, so that’s a team you have to respect, too.”