LEXINGTON — The Lexington Minutemen made 3-pointers out of the gate to take the lead. Then, they made the free throws at the end to hold on.
Led by Dylan Richman with 25 points, Lexington held off Kearney Catholic 67-61 Tuesday night at Lexington to snap a three-game losing streak. Richman was 8 for 8 from the free-throw line in the last minute and a half as the Stars had trimmed a 21-point lead to five points in the last minute.
The Minutemen set the tone early, forcing a turnover on KCHS’s first possession, then nailing 3-pointers on the next four possessions to go ahead 12-3. Post man Eli Young made three of them, his only points of the game, but the shots had the Stars spinning.
“I knew he could shoot it. I didn’t expect him to come out and bang three right off the bat,” said KCHS coach Bob Langan. “That really got it going and I thought the first possession defensively for them was super good and kind of set the tone even on the other end. So they kind of dictated the first half.”
Richman caught the bug, hitting a 3-pointer toward the end of the first quarter. He had nine points by halftime and Nick Saiz had 10, which included a 3-pointer. Another 3-pointer came from Kaleb Carpenter.
Lexington coach Zach Jones said, “I wasn’t expecting to hit all those 3-pointers in the first half. As a coach you get a little scared because you feel like you’re going to fall in love with the three, but we did a pretty good job in the first half of not settling and getting to the rim and making good shots.”
The Minutemen made 6 of 8 3-pointers in the first half and led 39-22 at intermission. That lead stretched to 47-26 on a 3-pointer by Saiz three minutes into the second half. But the Stars weren’t the same team after intermission.
“The first or second possession on defense there was kind of a loose ball in the corner that we probably would have let go in the first half. We ran, chased after it, got it and got going. I think that energy with that hustle play got us going,” Langan said.
Another thing got KCHS going — Brett Mahony.
The sophomore pacesetter for the Stars didn’t score until 2:26 remained in the third quarter. He scored 12 before fouling out in the last minute.
Lexington’s 6-foot-1 senior Christian Dominguez drew the defensive assignment on Mahony.
“We wanted (Dominguez) to face-guard and try to make it really difficult for him to catch. Christian is one of the best ... on-ball defenders in Class B in my opinion and he did a fantastic job,” Jones said.
And when Mahony tried to get to the basket, “we did a good job of just helping, keeping our hands up and making him take tough shots,” Jones said.
Logan O’Brien picked up some of the scoring slack, scoring 20 points and hitting 6 of 8 3s. Kegan Bosshamer added 13 points.
“We’re going to see a lot of that where (Mahony) is going to see their best guy or some guy off the bench who’s going to be a defensive specialist and not let him catch it,” Langan said. “So the other guys are going to have to step up.”
The game turned out to be a mirror image of the game the two teams played last year when KCHS built a big lead and held on to win. So when the Minutemen built a big lead, Jones was hearing footsteps.
“I wasn’t surprised they made a run. We made a few foolish mistakes and didn’t box out a few times that really hurt us,” Jones said. “But I was happy that we were able to hold on. The last three games we’ve played has been a real tough stretch To finish the game off with maybe some of those doubts in our mind, to kind of quench those doubts, I’m happy for those guys.
KCHS, ranked No. 4 in Class C1, cut the lead to single digits with 5 1/2 minutes left, and got it to five with an O’Brien 3-pointer with 2:20 left.
Lexington stretched it to nine but a 3-point play by Bosshamer with 35 seconds left got the Stars within five again.
But Lexington, in particular, Richman, was automatic from the free-throw line, making 9 of 10 in the fourth quarter.
“We have a five-game stretch where we play ranked opponents and we felt we kind of gave a few of them away until we finished this game,” Jones said.
Lexington 67, KCHS 61
Score by Quarters
KCHS (8-5)14 8 15 24 — 61
Lexington (8-4)23 16 12 16 — 67
KEARNEY CATHOLIC — Logan O’Brien 20, Kegan Bosshamer 13, Brett Mahony 12, Brandt Groskreutz 7, Blake Thiele 5, Samson David 4.
LEXINGTON — Dylan Richman 25, Nick Saiz 16, Christian Dominguez 9, Eli Young 9, Kaleb Carpenter 8.
KCHS girls start slow, finish strong
LEXINGTON — It took the Kearney Catholic girls a few minutes to get going.
In fact, for more than a quarter, the Stars had their hands full with winless Lexington.
But starting in the second quarter, KCHS found a spark in sophomore Ashley Keck, who finished with 13 points, and went on to blow out the Minutemaids 51-25.
Liza Trettel added nine points and three others scored six or more as the Stars bounced back from Saturday’s loss to North Platte.
Lexington’s Sarah Treffer led all scorers with 15 points.
KCHS, ranked fourth in Class C1, is back in action Thursday traveling to play sixth-ranked Broken Bow. On Saturday, the Stars are home to face Class C2 No. 1-ranked Hastings St. Cecilia, which suffered its first loss of the season Tuesday to Class B No. 4 Northwest.
Lexington 51, KCHS 25
Score by Quarters
KCHS (10-2)8 12 19 12 — 51
Lexington (0-13)5 6 9 5 — 25
KEARNEY CATHOLIC — Ashley Keck 13, Liza Trettel 9, Ainsley Aden 7, Ashlyn Wischmeier 6, Kyla Reifenrath 6, Liv Nore 4, Sydney Owen 2, Alexis Keim 2, Lauren Marker 2.
LEXINGTON — Sarah Treffer 15, Klair Fagot 4, Kalli Sutton 3, Madison Sutton 2, McKinna Moats 1.