LEXINGTON - Opening their game with a big flourish, the Minutemen outpaced the Kearney Catholic Stars in their home game Thursday and held the Stars off for a 67-61 win. The win came after the Minutemaids fell to the green and gold, 25-21.
The Minutemen went 100 percent in their first four shots of the game: the first, a three pointer from Nick Saiz from the right side, before three consecutive three pointers scored by Eli Young. Kearney Catholics response was one three pointer, giving the Minutemen a solid 12-3 lead in the opening minutes of the game.
Lexington pounded away point after point and took a 23-14 lead over the Stars in the first quarter. The lead, however, was not comfortable enough for the Minutemen.
In the second quarter the Lexington boys put on a show for the home crowd, putting away another 16 points over the Stars’ eight. The game looked lopsided as the teams took to the locker rooms, Lexington leading by 17 points, 39-22.
Kearney Catholic took the advantage in the second half, scoring 15 points over Lexington’s 12 in the third quarter and made their strongest effort in the final quarter, scoring 24 points over just 16 for the Minutemen. Their push at the end wasn’t enough to overcome Lexington’s breakout and the Minutemen claimed the win, 67-61.
“The first half we played great,” said Minutemen head coach Zach Jones when the game was done. “I wasn’t expecting us to hit all those shots but it’s nice when we do. We stayed with our game plan, we made it tough for their best player to score and we built that big lead.”
The Kearney Catholic player Jones referred to, Brett Mahoney, normally leads the Stars in scoring. Jones credited Christian Dominguez as the player responsible for holding the sophomore small forward to just 12 points.
The ‘big lead’ Jones referred to was an 18 point lead in the third quarter. The Stars recovered in the second half of the game, after a big 24 point fourth quarter.
“It never really felt comfortable to me,” coach Jones said of the double digit lead the Minutemen held on the Stars. “As a coach, you always envision ways that you can lose. I wasn’t surprised when they made a big comeback, they’re a very good team, but we held our composure and knocked down our free throws at the end. I’m just really proud of them to get this tough win.”
The win for the Minutemen came off of a tough weekend for the orange, black and white when they suffered two tough losses; one to the Hastings Tigers and another to the Adams Central Patriots.
“We knew this would be a big win,” Jones added. “We lost three games in a row and some of those games we felt like we gave away. We knew this was our chance to get back on track. We’re happy with the win but we’ve got four or five more home games and we’re just trying to get on a roll, here.”
The front of the pack, Dylan Richman, led his team with 25 points with Nick Saiz behind him, scoring 16 points. Richman went 12-for-12 at the free throw line in the game and gained five assists, which set a new school record for career assists at 274. Coincidentally, Coach Jones was the previous record holder at 272 career assists.
The Minutemaids stayed competitive with the lady Stars in the first quarter, putting up five points to Kearney Catholic’s eight. They continued to battle with the KCHS girls the first few minutes of the second when the Stars began to pull away and put 12 points on the board while the ‘Maids stopped with six. The Minutemaids trailed by nine as they went to halftime, 11-20.
Kearney Catholic sealed the deal with a big third quarter, adding 19 points over the ‘Maids’ nine, to take a significant 19 point lead. The fourth quarter favored the Stars, 5-12, and the Minutemaids fell, 25-51.
“The first quarter we were getting some good looks,” Lexington girls head coach Robb Koerting said after the game. “We missed a few, inside, that we should have had. We were getting the looks that we wanted. The second quarter, I think the girls get into a panic. They get down on points and start taking shots that we normally wouldn’t and they don’t fall. We need to remind them that it’s better to take it even by taking good shots, not a lot of shots.”
Leading the Minutemaids, Sarah Treffer scored 15 of her team’s 25 points with Klair Fagot behind her with four points.
The Minutemaids and the Minutemen will be back on home court on Tuesday, Jan. 21 when they host the McCook Bison. Games with McCook are set to begin at 5:45 p.m. with the varsity girls. Boys varsity will follow at 7:30 p.m.