All hope wasn't lost for St. Edmond boys head coach Adolph Kochendorfer following Saturday's heartbreaking 47-46 setback to Carroll Kuemper.
After seeing their five-game winning streak come to an abrupt halt on a buzzer-beating tip-in by Knight player Riley Bach, the Gaels left their home gym more angry than anything else as an eight-point lead dissipated in the final quarter here last night.
It was the kind of reaction Kochendorfer was looking for from his locker room.
''They're competitive kids and they've developed a distaste for losing,'' Kochendorfer said. ''They left it all on the floor and they're not happy with being just close enough, which is good. As a coach, you want to see that and I really think that's becoming more of a factor with this group as they gain confidence and start to believe more in themselves.
''We did a lot of good things. Had we executed better down the stretch, it may have been a different outcome. But Kuemper is a big, strong, quality opponent, so give them credit. I really think we can build from this. The good news is this isn't a one-and-done situation, despite having the feel of a tournament game.''
Bach's bucket came during a frantic scramble as the closing seconds of regulation ticked away. The senior reserve got the shot off right as time expired, setting off a wild celebration from Kuemper fans as the Gaels left the floor in stunned disbelief.
CARROLL KUEMPER 47,
ST. EDMOND 46
Carroll Kuemper - Sam Brincks 6-10 2-4 14, Cole Neary 5-9 1-2 13, Chris Halbur 3-8 0-2 8, Alex Drees 1-2 0-0 2, Carter Ludwig 0-4 0-0 0, Riley Bach 3-8 4-6 10, Alex Gunnerson 0-1 0-0 0, Bryce Wessels 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-42 7-14 47.
St. Edmond - David Flattery 7-11 4-4 21, Aaron Chalstrom 2-7 0-0 5, Alex Mericle 1-3 3-4 5, Eddie Doyle 1-7 0-0 3, Aaron McElroy1-2 0-3 2, Robby Burke 4-9 2-3 10, Landon Peed 0-2 0-0 0, Hank Crimmins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-41 9-14 46.
Quarter scores: St. Edmond led 14-11, 27-26, 40-32. Three-point goals: St. Edmond 5-14 (Flattery 3-5, Chalstrom 1-5, Doyle 1-1, Mericle 0-2, Peed 0-1); Kuemper 4-13 (Neary 2-4, Halbur 2-4, Ludwig 0-3, Drees 0-1, Bach 0-1). Turnovers: Kuemper 12, St. Edmond 7. Total fouls: Kuemper 15, St. Edmond 11.
St. Edmond (12-5 overall) led for 30 of the contest's 32 minutes, falling behind only briefly for the first time when the Knights (10-7) went on an 11-0 run to start the final period. The Gaels went back up on a pair of David Flattery field goals, and held the upper-hand all the way until the horn.
Flattery scored 21 points for St. Edmond, which was playing for the second time in 24 hours and third this week. Kuemper was off Friday.
''Did we get a little worn down late? I suppose that's only natural,'' Kochendorfer said of the Knights' 15-6 fourth-quarter charge. ''A lot of that is the type of ballclub (Kuemper is), though - they're physical and huge (the Knights start 6-foot-6 Cole Neary, 6-6 Sam Brincks, 6-5 Chris Halbur and bring the 6-4 Bach off the bench). It's not just their size, but their strength.
''We've had a big three-game week. Had we made a few more free throws or been stronger with the ball at the end, we'd be talking about a nice 3-0 stretch. But we can take plenty away from this despite the loss.''
Robby Burke added 10 points off the bench for St. Edmond. After Flattery and Burke, though, the rest of the Gael rotation went 5-for-21 from the floor.
St. Edmond only turned the ball over seven times, and the Gaels drew three charges - one by Flattery and two by senior Alex Mericle - in the final three-plus minutes to swing the momentum back in their favor until the exciting conclusion.
St. Edmond heads to Webster City on Tuesday for a 7:45 p.m. tip.