Gaels play Titans for district title

EMMETSBURG – Like usual, the St. Edmond boys basketball team appears to be hitting its stride at the perfect time.

Winners of five straight games, the Gaels (17-6 overall) will face Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire (21-1) in a Class 1A, District 3 final here tonight.

Tip is set for 7 p.m.

On Tuesday, SEHS coasted to a 66-34 victory over Newell-Fonda. Senior Colin Flattery led the way for the Gaels with 18 points, while senior Harrison Mayer and junior Charlie Doyle each added 12.

“We know that we’re going to have to focus on rebounding and defense first,” said St. Edmond head coach Adolph Kochendorfer. “Our kids have really been working on the little things and getting better every day and every game. We just need to continue to do that.”

Mayer (12.3), Doyle (12.2), Flattery (7.7) and seniors Tate O’Tool (3.3) and John Woodruff (3.3) comprise St. Edmond’s starting lineup.

All six Gael losses this year were to teams with at least 15 victories. Kochendorfer’s squad has held 16 of its 23 opponents to 50 points or less, including eight to under 40.

The Titans lean heavily on the senior quartet of Briar Cliff University signee Andy Geelan (17.7), Michael Girres (11.8), Noah Stukey (10.4) and Jared Sikora (10.0). Geelan, a 6-foot-5 guard, also contributes 10.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 2.3 blocks a night, while shooting a team-high 58.7 percent (149 of 254) from the field.

“They’re a very tall, athletic team that can get up and down the floor,” Kochendorfer said of G-T/R-A. “It’s going to be a tough game. Our kids have been in these situations before thanks to our (North Central Conference). I think they’re looking forward to the challenge.”

In their two previous tournament contests, the Titans ousted West Bend-Mallard (73-45) and Storm Lake St. Mary’s (80-43). Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire has reeled off 12 consecutive triumphs since suffering its only loss of the season last month in a 52-39 decision at then-No. 8 (2A) Pocahontas Area.

This evening’s winner advances to meet either fifth-ranked West Hancock (21-2) or AGWSR (17-6) in a 1A, Substate 2 final on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Humboldt.