Wildcats slide past Athletics on the homestretch

Published 10:09 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2022

ROCHESTER — The No. 6 seeded Lyle-Pacelli boys basketball team was in the race, but it lost its stride in the final lap as it was knocked off by No. 3 Goodhue by a score of 47-39 in a Section 1A quarterfinal in Mayo Civic Auditorium Wednesday.

Junior Buay Koak gave L- a boost of life when he hit a wing three-pointer to bring his team within 40-37 with 2:30 left, and he converted a post move to bring L-P within 42-39 with 1:35 left, but that was as close as the Athletics would get. Goodhue’s Tyson Christensen had an immediate answer as he glided in for an open lay-up to make it 44-39 with 1:22 left. The Wildcats closed the game out at the free throw line.

Koak finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and four blocks.

“They were a lot tougher than what we’ve seen all year. They were big all around, they’re disciplined and they box out,” Koak said. “This is a team that you can’t really make a lot of mistakes against. When we turned it over, they capitalized on it.”

The Athletics didn’t have much luck inside on offense, but they stayed in the game with their three-point shot as they connected on nine shots from downtown.

Goodhue (22-6 overall) led by nine early in the second half, but the  Athletics wouldn’t go away. Mac Nelson hit a three to bring L-P within 30-28 and Jake Truckenmiller swished a baseline triple to bring the Athletics within 32-31 with 9:10 left.

L-P head coach Carl Truckenmiller said it was tough for the Athletics to go against a big, tough team after playing a softer schedule throughout the season.

“That’s a good Goodhue team and every night they play someone tough. They’re big and I thought we battled with them. We tried to push the pace and we had some looks in the middle and we’ve got to finish those. It was a great effort,” Truckenmiller said. “I think this is the first L-P team that has ever won 23 games. There’s something to be said about that.” 

L-P (23-5 overall) pulled to within 14-13 when Jake Truckenmiller hit a three-pointer to bring the Athletics within 14-13 with 11:15 left in the first half and L-P later pulled to within 24-18 on another Truckenmiller three late in the first half.

L-P will certainly be back in the mix next season as it will bring back all of its major contributors on varsity. The Athletics went out strong on Wednesday, and they’ll be back even stronger next season.

“We wanted this game and we knew we could play with them. Even when we were down 10, we knew it was possible,” Koak said. “We’re all going to work hard in the offseason and we’re bringing everybody back. We’ve been playing together since elementary school and it’s going to be fun next year to see where this team is going to go.”

Lyle-Pacelli 18  21 — 39

Goodhue 26  21 — 47

LP scoring: Buay Koak, 19; Jake Truckenmiller, 14; Mac Nelson, 6; free throws: 66 percent (2-for-3); rebounds: 24 (Koak, 7); turnovers: 17