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Lacina leads Gaels in finale

CHURDAN — Anthony Lacina had a career-high 21 points and Hayden Mayer added 15 as the St. Edmond boys defeated Paton-Churdan to close out the regular season on Friday, 69-49.

The Gaels (7-13 overall) won for the third time in four games heading into next week’s Class 1A, District 2 quarterfinal. St. Edmond led by only five points heading into the fourth quarter, but pulled away by out-scoring the Rockets (5-16) by a 19-4 count the rest of the way.

“We really picked up the defensive intensity late and got some run-outs to extend the lead,” Gael head coach Adolph Kochendorfer said. “You never really know how you’re going to react when you step away from (North Central Conference) play this late in the season, and it took us a while to get going, but the kids got after it and finished strong.

“It’s good to have this type of effort heading into (postseason action).”

Lacina and Mayer led four SEHS players in double figures. Connor Bocken added 12 and Drew Schaeffer contributed 11.

“Anthony has really earned his minutes,” Kochendorfer said. “We could see early on that even when his shot isn’t falling, he’s going to defend and rebound for us. He’s been getting after it lately, and he’s getting a better feel for the game. It’s coming more natural to him, and his confidence growing.

“Hayden missed three games with a concussion, so he’s been a little rusty. It’s great to see him rounding back into form. We found him in transition a few times, and he worked the baseline well against their zone.”

Paton-Churdan scored a bucket to open the final frame and pull within a single possession, but St. Edmond tallied 19 of the contest’s final 21 points.

The Gaels open district play on Thursday in Algona against Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire (6-14). Tip is set for 6:30 p.m.

ST. EDMOND 69, PATON-CHURDAN 49

St. Edmond — Anthony Lacina 21, Hayden Mayer 15, Connor Bocken 12, Drew Schaeffer 11, Jed Tracy 2, Brock Stanek 2.

Paton-Churdan — Kaleb Fisher 16, Connor Brus 12, Bradyn Smith 9, Jesse Knowles 5, Joe Carey 4, Shaydon Thurman 3.

Quarter scores: St. Edmond led 12-10, 28-20, 50-45.