Koak’s clutch plays lead Athletics to a win in Southland

Published 10:27 pm Friday, February 24, 2023

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ADAMS – Just when it looked like the Southland boys basketball team had one last run in them, Lyle-Pacelli senior Buay Koak showed why he is one of the premiere players in the area as he led the Athletics to a 52-41 win over the Rebels Friday.

Right after Southland’s Cole Miller hit a three to cut L-P’s lead to 45-38 with 3:55 left in the game, Koak hit two free throws and he threw down a jam to push LP’s lead to 49-38 with 2:54 left in the game. Koak finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. 

Koak had extra motivation in the game, considering that LP and Southland have always entertained a rivalry and Southland head coach Scott Koenigs was LP’s head coach up until two years ago.

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In the past, I never knew what the rivalry was about and now they have coach Koenigs and it’s not that I have anything against him,” Koak said. “You just don’t want to lose to someone who used to coach you. I like playing in this environment and it’s always going to be tough here.”

Koenigs is very familiar with L-P’s team, which gave him some insight on how to run an offense that would be effective. Ultimately, turnovers caught up to Southland.

“We just had too many turnovers in the second half and we were playing a lot of underclassmen tonight,” Koenigs said. “(L-P) has good players and we worked hard with them (when I was there). Buay started for me in eighth, ninth and tenth grade and the other boys played a lot as sophomores. They’re good players, they’ve played a lot of good basketball and they’re a good team.”

Nick Edland hit a baseline three to put the Rebels (14-10 overall) up 23-21 with 1:46 until halftime, but Truckenmiller hit a three and then converted a steal into score when he hit Koak on a breakaway lob with three seconds to secure a 26-23 lead for L-P at the break.

The Rebels led 12-6 early on, but L-P scored 11 straight to take a 17-12 lead with 6:10 until halftime. Truckenmiller had seven points in that rally, including a pair of lay-ups.

Truckenmilelr finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals for L-P (21-4 overall). He is more than capable as a scorer, but he knows who to get the ball to when the game is on the line.

“I don’t think anyone can really guard Buay,” Truckenmiller said. “It’s hard to stop him. We’re doing good things out there.”

Southland 23  18  –  41

Lyle-Pacelli 26  27  –  52

L-P scoring: Buay Koak, 19; Jake Truckenmiller, 12; Mac Nelson, 12; Landon Meyer, 4; Hunter Bauer, 3; Trey Anderson, 2

Southland scoring: Nick Edland, 16; Noah Bauer, 9; Gavin Nelsen, 7; Cole Miller, 3; Cale Wehrenberg, 3; Sam Boe, 2; Jonas Wiste, 2