KEARNEY — Kearney Catholic seemed to be headed down a road it hadn’t been to in years.
Staring at an 0-2 start to begin the season and trailing 32-18 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, something clicked for the Stars.
Kearney Catholic freed up its shooters in the second half — especially in the Stars’ 23 point outburst in the fourth quarter.
“I told the girls at halftime that we have to find a way to get the ball in the basket,” Kearney Catholic coach Rick Petri said. “Part of that is shoot selection.”
After an Ainsley Aden 3-pointer cut the deficit to 35-21, the Stars’ defense started playing with a sense of urgency.
As Kearney Catholic’s defense stepped up, the Adams Central offense wilted away, turning the ball over 10 times in the quarter and 29 in the game.
Thursday’s game against Adams Central was eerily similar to the Stars’ game to open the season against North Platte.
When asked what adjustments he made at halftime, Petri said he hold his team to get more spaced out on the offensive side of the floor.
“We did a little better job of spacing the second half and getting people where they like to get it,” Petri said. “That was a big key.”
After Aden cut the lead to 35-28 with her third 3-pointer of the night, it was Olivia Micek’s turn to get into the act as she made a layup to get the Stars within five.
Adams Central extended its lead back to seven points as Morgan Samuelson made a layup with three minutes, 18 seconds left in the game.
The lead evaporated rapidly as Julia McReynolds and Brooke Eschenbrenner hit back-to-back 3’.
Perhaps the biggest play of the game came with 20.8 seconds left.
After the Stars forced a turnover, Petri called a timeout to set up a play he had been running for a number of years.
The end result was Micek coming off a slip screen for the go-ahead layup.
“It’s a play we’ve run (all the time),” Petri said. “We ran it a few years ago to win a game against Centura. ... It’s play that sometimes we set up for a 3-point shooter, but I just felt like maybe we could get that closest person to jump that and we were able to get that for a layup. Credit Liza Trettel. She gave Liv a great pass.”
Micek finished with nine points, while Aden netted 13.
Adams Central was paced by freshman Libby Trausch. She scored nine of the Patriots’ first 14 points to start the game.
Kearney Catholic is back in action tonight when it hosts former LouPlatte Conference rival Ord.
“Anytime Ord and Kearney Catholic play its going to be a battle,” Petri said. “Our kids competed really hard tonight. We have to come and play with that same intensity the second half the whole game.”