Athletics find their groove and bring down Knights in Section 1A opener

Published 9:43 pm Thursday, March 2, 2023

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The No. 4 seeded Lyle-Pacelli boys basketball team shook off a slow start to run away with a Section 1A Tournament opening victory by a score of 75-53 in Lyle Thursday.

A total of 12  players scored in the win for L-P as the reserves were able to play in the late minutes.

“I was hoping this was how it would go for us,” L-P head coach Carl Truckenmiller said. “It was a game where we could play everyone, especially for the seniors playing on this floor for the last time.”

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Kingsland (13-14 overall) took a 22-18 lead when Jayden Brink drilled a three, but the Athletics scored the next 14 points. LP made its run by attacking the hoops as Jake Truckenmiller converted back-to-back lay-ups to make it 24-22 and Buay Koak had a steal for a two handed slam dunk and a lay-up to push it to 30-22. Truckenmiller added two free throws to make it 31-22 at halftime.

“Traditionally we just start so slow, and once we get going, we’re pretty hard to stop,” Truckenmiller said. “But for whatever reason, we missed buckets and didn’t rebound well. Maybe it’s because we hadn’t played in a week, but when we stepped up our defense, we made some shots.

L-P (22-5 overall) opened the second half on a 15-5 burst to go up 46-27 as Koak, who finished with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, hit two threes in a row to end the rally.

Mac Nelson finished with 12 points in the win for L-P.

“We’ve struggled early in the majority of our games, but as long as we can find the energy and pull out a comfortable lead I’m fine with it,” Nelson said. “It was our final time in that gym. It was nice to see some guys get in and score. That gym was packed for almost every game this season.”

L-P’s Hunter Bauer gave the team an early spark as he scored on a put-back to put LP up 6-5 and he followed that up with a steal and an assist to Truckenmiller, who buried a corner three to put the Athletics up 9-5.

“I like to get in there and get rebounds. I like to get that dirty work in,” Bauer said. 

Brink finished with 21 points for the Knights and went over the 1,000 point career mark in the loss.

Lyle-Pacelli will now take on either No. 5 Fillmore Central at Mayo Civic Auditorium at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s a bigger gym and the court is bigger so our press is maybe going to be a little bit more difficult to run,” Bauer said.

K 23  30  –  53

LP 32  43  –  75

LP scoring: Buay Koak, 21; Jake Truckenmiller, 18; Mac Nelson, 12; Trey Anderson, 7; David Christianson, 3; Mitchel Johnson, 3; Othello Stone, 2; Landon Meyer, 2; Hunter Bauer, 2; Isaac Nelsen, 2; Jaden  May, 2; Dylan Christianson, 1