KEARNEY — The Kearney Catholic girls held a four-point lead entering the fourth quarter against Boone Central/Newman Grove, despite shooting just 21.2 percent through the first 24 minutes of play on Friday night.
The Stars’ shooting woes caught up to them in the first five minutes of the final quarter, though, as the Cardinals battled back to take the lead. But sophomore Ashley Keck drained a 3-pointer to ignite an 11-0 scoring run over the final 2 1/2 minutes for the Stars, allowing them to escape with a 36-29 victory over the Cardinals at Cope Coliseum.
"It was a good thing we could play a little bit of defense," KCHS coach Rick Petri said. "I thought our defensive effort was pretty good. Fortunately, though we rebounded the ball a little better today, and that’s a big key for us, especially when we are struggling to shoot the ball."
The Stars (7-1) held a 19-13 lead at halftime, but a four-point third quarter gave them just a 23-19 edge over the Cardinals (5-4).
The Cardinals evened the score at 23 on a Natalee Luettel layup one minute into the final period. Keck split a pair of free throws seconds later to put the Stars ahead, but the Cardinals responded.
They went on a 6-1 run with Ashtyn Hedlund’s 3 from the right wing capping the scoring spree to hold a 29-25 advantage with 3 minutes, 4 seconds left.
Nearly one minute later, Keck responded with a 3 for the Stars, which was their first basket of the fourth quarter. On the Stars’ next possession, Ainsley Aden made two free throws to push the Stars ahead, 30-29.
"We finally hit some shots," Petri said. "We weren’t very good at the free-throw line today until the end."
Both teams shot 26.3 percent from the field. Seven of the Stars’ 10 baskets came from beyond the arc with Christina Arram coming off the bench to make three 3s.
The Stars managed to shoot 56.3 percent from the free-throw line compared to the Cardinals’ 40 percent. The Cardinals missed three free throws in the final two minutes of the game, including two when they trailed by one point.
Although the Stars overcame their poor offensive performance, Petri said they have to eliminate the poor shot selection and impatient decision making moving forward.
"I think everyone wants to do something special. We all want to be noticed and, sometimes, we just have to do the little things," Petri said. "You have to accept what the game gives you and not force it. We are doing a not so great job of recognizing that right now."
The Stars return to action at Minden at 3 p.m. today (Saturday).
KCHS 36, BCNG 29
Scores by Quarter
BCNG (5-4) 5 8 6 10 — 29
KCHS (7-1) 11 8 4 13 — 36
BCNG — Mara Ranslem 4, Lauren Hedlund 12, Natalee Luettel 4, Ashtyn Hedlund 5, Macy Rankin 2, Alicia Weeder 2.
KCHS — Liza Trettel 6, Ashley Keck 4, Ashlyn Wischmeier 9, Ainsley Aden 5, Kyla Reifenrath 3, Christina Arram 9.
Stars shoot past Cardinals
KEARNEY — One day after being outscored by 13 points in the fourth quarter in a 17-point loss to Beatrice on their home court, the Kearney Catholic Stars boys responded with a sense of urgency against Boone Central/Newman Grove on Friday night.
The Stars surged to a 19-1 lead in the first quarter and never eased up in a 70-42 throttling of the Cardinals at Cope Coliseum.
"It’s nice to get out of the gate and get going offensively," KCHS coach Bob Langan said. "We got up into them defensively and that helps a little bit too. We wanted to have a fast start."
Sophomore forward Brett Mahony was instrumental in the Stars’ explosive start. Mahony, the Stars’ leading scorer this season, accounted for nine of the Stars’ first 19 points. He played most of the first half and only about five minutes in the third quarter, finishing with a game-high 23 points on 10 of 13 shooting.
The Cardinals had no answer for Mahony, who was patient and attacked the basket against a porous interior defense.
"He had the killer instinct," Langan said. "I don’t think anybody was too happy about the Beatrice loss, and he came out and made sure he was going to take care of business tonight."
The Stars (7-2) led 19-3 with less than two minutes left in the first quarter, but the Cardinals (2-7) rallied for 11 consecutive points in a 5 1/2-minute stretch during the first and second periods to cut the deficit to single digits.
The Stars held a 36-20 advantage at halftime and then just overwhelmed the Cardinals in the third quarter. The Cardinals had no answer for the Stars’ dynamic offense and crumbled against their stingy defense. The Stars outscored the Cardinals 21-3 in the third period, which allowed Langan to play his backups the entire fourth quarter.
"We came out and said we wanted to put them away," Langan said. "We wanted to work a little bit on our zone defense and that was a change for them. We got a few steals on that, and offensively I thought we were a little more patient and spaced the floor a little bit better to get some easy looks."
The Stars are off until they face Grand Island Central Catholic on Friday night at Grand Island.
KCHS 70, BCNG 42
Scores by Quarter
BCNG (2-7) 7 13 3 19 — 42
KCHS (7-2) 19 17 21 13 — 70
BCNG — Logan Hodges 3, Ryan Kramer 8, Chase Thieman 9, Dustin Andreasen 2, Dylan Korth 1, Blaine Young 3, Braden Benes 5, Alex Christo 8, Calvin Webster 3.
KCHS — Logan O’Brien 3, Kegan Bosshamer 9, Brandt Groskreutz 4, Blake Thiele 3, Brett Mahony 23, Tate Florell 12, Dylan Merz 7, Austin Christner 6, Logan Miner 3.