Athletics play with urgency to beat Superlarks

Published 10:07 pm Thursday, February 18, 2021

GRAND MEADOW — Lyle-Pacelli had just one day to think about their six-game winning streak being snapped in Hayfield, and they found the cure to their ills when they beat Grand Meadow 72-46 in GM Thursday.

Cole Walter put the exclamation point on a big first half for the Athletics (8-2 overall, 7-1 SEC) as he connected on a 30-foot three-point shot to beat the halftime buzzer and put his team up 44-29. Walter finished with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals as he continues a journey for him and his teammates Zach Bollingberg and Jed Nelson that began when they were all freshmen.

“On bus rides over to games, I’m thinking this could be our last time playing these guys. Every single time I step on the floor, I realize I may only have a few more games left. I want to leave it all out there every time I step on the floor,” Walter said. “We had a tough loss on Tuesday and we knew we had to bounce back. There’s no better way to do it than against a top team in the section.“

The Superlarks (4-3 overall, 3-3 SEC) briefly led 10-9 when Colt Landers hit a three-pointer early in the first half, but the Athletics answered with a 15-5 burst that saw Walter convert a steal for a lay-up and hit at three.

Landers scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half and added eight rebounds in the loss while being guarded by Nelson.

“Tonight we asked Jed to do his best at guarding Landers. His job was to D up and to rebound,” L-P head coach Scott Koenigs said. “He’s given up a little bit of his scoring and tonight he was focused on doing his best with Landers. I thought he did a pretty good job.”

Nelson is currently the lone 1,000 point scorer on L-P’s roster, but he’s sacrificed a lot of his looks at the basket for the betterment of the team. He had seven points and five rebounds on Thursday, while L-P sophomore Buay Koak put up 19 points, five rebounds and six blocked shots.

“Buay is unbelievable and he can do it all on offense and defense,” Nelson said. “I like the physical aspect of the game I get to play this year. I like that style a lot.”

L-P’s long-time seniors have also made room for the scoring of upstart Jake Truckenmiller, who put up 11 points off the bench against GM. Koenigs said he is impressed with his team’s attitude.

“This team is so unselfish,” Koenigs said. “If we would’ve had a normal season, we would probably have four 1,000 point scorers on the floor. We lost eight games and that’s going to cost one to three guys 1,000 points.”

While GM had beaten Hayfield earlier this season, the Superlarks couldn’t find that same effort against an L-P team that attacked them from several angles.

“We knew they were a run and gun team and they did a good job of that tonight,” GM head coach Dakotah Rostad said. “In the half court they did a good job of spacing the floor and attacking. We didn’t do what we worked on defensively as well as we hoped. This is a game we’ll learn from and it’s a game we’ll watch on film.”

Lyle-Pacelli 44  28  —  72

Grand Meadow 29  17  —  46

LP scoring: Cole Walter, 19; Buay Koak, 19; Jake Truckenmiller, 11; Zach Bollingberg, 9; Jed Nelson, 7; Sam Nelsen, 5; Trey Anderson, 2; free throws: 63 percent (5-for-8); rebounds: 29 (Koak, 6); turnovers: 11

GM scoring: Colt Landers, 19; Roman Warmka, 7; Taylor Glynn, 6; Evan Oehlke, 4; Kam Bacon, 3; Blake Ludemann, 2; Carter Mueller, 2; free throws: 100 percent (2-for-2); rebounds: 36 (Wamrka, 8; Landers, 8); turnovers: 11