HEARTBREAKER

EMMETSBURG – Down the stretch, the St. Edmond boys were unable to get over the hump here Thursday night.

Facing Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire in a Class 1A, District 3 final, the Gaels (17-7 overall) were ousted in a tight 52-50 decision at the Emmetsburg gym.

“They made a couple big shots and we didn’t,” said SEHS head coach Adolph Kochendorfer, whose squad saw its five-game winning streak halted. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort – that’s for sure. It always hurts to lose, especially for the seniors, but this was a good team we played (Thursday).”

Senior Harrison Mayer contributed a game-high 17 points for St. Edmond, while junior Charlie Doyle netted 10. After falling into an early 5-0 hole, the Gaels led just twice the rest of the way. Despite tying the score four different times in the second half, SEHS was never in front over the final two quarters.

St. Edmond went only 4-for-6 from the free throw line compared to 21 of 31 for the Titans.

“I was hoping we could get to the free throw line a few more times (the Gaels were whistled for 20 fouls to just nine for G-T/R-A),” Kochendorfer said. “There were some calls that just didn’t go our way.”

Mayer’s corner triple briefly knotted things at 46 with 3:32 remaining. From there, the Titans reeled off the next five points to gain control. Freshman Andrew Gibb’s rebound and putback just before the final buzzer trimmed the deficit to two, however, G-T/R-A ran out the clock without inbounding the ball.

Andy Geelan, a Briar Cliff University recruit, paced the Titans with 15 points. Noah Stukey and Jared Sikora also pitched in 12 and 11, respectively. G-T/R-A actually built a 29-23 advantage at the break, before the Gaels answered with a mini 6-0 burst coming out of the locker room on the heels of three consecutive hoops from Doyle, Mayer and sophomore Will Woodruff.

St. Edmond went only 4-for-6 from the free throw line compared to 21 of 31 for the Titans.

“I was hoping we could get to the free throw line a few more times (the Gaels were whistled for 20 fouls to just nine for G-T/R-A),” Kochendorfer said. “There were some calls that just didn’t go our way.”

Mayer’s corner triple briefly knotted things at 46 with 3:32 remaining. From there, the Titans reeled off the next five points to gain control. Freshman Andrew Gibb’s rebound and putback just before the final buzzer trimmed the deficit to two, however, G-T/R-A ran out the clock without inbounding the ball.

Andy Geelan, a Briar Cliff University recruit, paced the Titans with 15 points. Noah Stukey and Jared Sikora also pitched in 12 and 11, respectively.

G-T/R-A actually built a 29-23 advantage at the break, before the Gaels answered with a mini 6-0 burst coming out of the locker room on the heels of three consecutive hoops from Doyle, Mayer and sophomore Will Woodruff.

“I was proud of the way we came out to start the second half (just four of SEHS’s 15 turnovers were committed in the second half),” said Kochendorfer. “We didn’t want them to make a run, or we would’ve been in trouble.”

Robert Flattery, a senior guard, added four points off the bench after missing the previous six games for St. Edmond due to mono. Cousin Colin Flattery, another senior, also suffered a shoulder injury last evening midway through the third period. Colin fell hard into the wall mat while contesting a fastbreak layup attempt.

“It was nice to get Robert back. I thought he played some great defense on (Geelan),” Kochendorfer said. “Colin tore some ligaments in his shoulder, which is better than a dislocation. It’ll probably be four or five weeks until he recovers.”

Thursday marked the 14th district final appearance in the last 15 years for the Gaels. All six of St. Edmond’s other losses this winter came against 2A or 3A opponents.

Tate O’Tool, John Woodruff, Michael Sharkey and Reid Johnson also wrapped up their SEHS careers. Over the last four seasons, the Gaels compiled 58 victories.

“This has been a fun group of kids to coach,” said Kochendorfer. “They practiced real hard. I think we got better fundamentally as the year went on.”

Following a 52-39 setback at then-No. 8 (2A) Pocahontas Area last month, Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire (22-1) has now prevailed in 13 consecutive outings.

Looking to punch a ticket to Des Moines, the Titans will now face fifth-ranked West Hancock (22-2) in a 1A, Substate 2 final on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Humboldt. The Eagles beat AGWSR last night, 75-60.