With just over two weeks left in the regular season, a sense of urgency continues to heighten for both the St. Edmond boys and girls basketball teams.
Awaiting the Gaels this week are two more North Central Conference doubleheaders.
SEHS welcomes Hampton-Dumont tonight and then visits Algona on Friday.
Tip for both girls games is set for 6:15 p.m., followed by boys action at around 7:45 p.m.
In their last outing on Friday, the Gael boys (8-4 overall, 7-4 NCC) bounced back with a convincing 51-37 victory at Bishop Garrigan.
Junior Robby Burke (18.7) and senior David Flattery (10.9) are the offensive focal points for defending state runner-up St. Edmond. Burke also pulls down 9.9 rebounds per game, while Flattery contributes 8.4 boards and 5.0 assists a night. SEHS, which received five votes in the latest Class 2A rankings, is averaging 58.3 points in its wins and just 44.3 in its losses.
Gael Boys (8-4, 7-4)
G Aaron McElroy, 5-9, sr., 4.0
G Aaron Chalstrom, 6-0, sr., 6.6
F David Flattery, 6-3, sr., 10.9
F Alex Mericle, 6-1, sr., 4.2
C Robby Burke, 6-6, jr., 18.7
Gael Girls (12-1, 11-1)
G Jaci Stumpf, 5-5, so., 9.0
G Anna Yung, 5-8, so., 14.1
F Maddie McCarville, 5-5, jr., 1.5
F Alli Huss, 6-0, jr., 13.3
C Hannah Lentsch, 6-1, sr., 8.8
"We have to learn to be more focused consistently," Gael head coach Adolph Kochendorfer said. "Our guys were a little bothered by the Clarion loss, and they came out Friday and showed what they can do.
"We need to build on that performance now and keep doing the things we do best."
Still in search of their first win this season, the Bulldogs (0-11, 0-9) are paced by Parker Claypool (10.5) and Cole Miller (6.2). Hampton-Dumont is looking to avenge an earlier 67-30 setback to the Gaels.
"We expect (H-D head coach) Heath (Walton) to have his guys prepared," Kochendorfer said. "(The Bulldogs) played Humboldt pretty tough the last two games (falling 58-45 and 49-37) and seem to be improving.
"I know that got my attention as a coach, and we tried to get that through to our guys in practice."
Sawyer Frideres (10.1) and Luke TerHark (9.2) lead the way for Algona (4-7, 4-5), which has dropped six straight games on the heels of four consecutive wins. The Bulldogs topped the Gaels in their previous encounter, 50-46.
"Algona matches up with us pretty well," said Kochendorfer. "We're expecting another tough game and have to be ready to go."
The 13th-ranked (2A) Gael girls (12-1, 11-1) have payback on their minds after suffering their lone blemish to Hampton-Dumont. St. Edmond, which outscores its opponents by an average margin of 20.8 points per contest, is currently riding a nine-game victory streak.
Sophomore Anna Yung (14.1) and junior Alli Huss (13.3) are the key cogs in the Gael lineup.
"We didn't play real aggressive the first time we faced Hampton, and we made a lot of mistakes," Messerly said. "I think we're a much better team now, though, and are looking forward to seeing what we can do (tonight)."
Taryn Barz (14.9) and Jessica Speake (10.2) are the main weapons for the Bulldogs (9-2, 8-1), who have won five straight games of their own after back-to-back home defeats to Clear Lake and North Butler.
Algona (9-4, 7-3) leans heavily on Tangy Wiseman (8.8) and Abby Strohman (8.0). The Bulldogs have prevailed in six of their past seven outings.
"Algona has a lot of speed and is much-improved," said Messerly. "We're expecting a tougher game this time around (the Gaels earned a 48-34 win in their earlier meeting)."