After being outscored 11-2 in the first five minutes, the St. Mary's High boys basketball team came back to beat Aurelia 54-50 here Friday night for their first win of the season.
The Panthers outscored the Bulldogs 20-16 in the second quarter and led 36-32 at the half. St. Mary's led 44-38 after three frames, but Aurelia rallied for a 12-10 edge in the fourth frame before falling four points short.
"We started slow," said SM coach Brad Wilkening, "but T.J. Miller and Abe Flanigan hit a couple of three's and that helped give us a tie at 16 at the end of the first quarter."
Wilkening added that Miller hit a three-point shot at the halftime buzzer as the Panthers led 36-32 at the break.
"Both teams struggled offensively in the third quarter," Wilkening said, "but we matched their physical play with some of our own."
The coach added that with 17 seconds left, Thomas Stewart made a steal and Devin Landgraf hit a crucial two-point shot for the final margin.
"Our whole team played extremely hard," Wilkening added. "Every time they had a chance to take the lead, we just dug down deep and held on."
Senior center Andy Dahm led the Panthers at the post, notching an impressive double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Landgraf added 12 points while Miller finished with nine points on three three-point shots. Flanigan added eight points and Jimmy Steward netted seven.
The Panthers hit six threes and were 12 of 40 from two-point range. Aurelia was just one of 15 from beyond the arc and 13 of 36 from two-point range.
St. Mary's finished with a 36-21 edge on the boards and forced 16 Aurelia turnovers.
Tanner Winterhof led the Bulldogs with 14 points, with Aaron Bruce adding 11.
Sac City 66
The Alta High boys basketball remained undefeated in Northwest Conference play on the road Saturday night, edging Sac City 69-66.
The Cyclones avoided their first conference loss in 11 games by coming back from a nine-point, third quarter deficit. Alta improved to 14-4 overall with the win.
"This was a hard-fought road win against a very dangerous Sac City team," first-year Alta coach Bart Smith said. "I was impressed with how our kids responded when Sac City made their third-quarter run to put us down by nine."
The Cyclones trailed 53-47 after three quarters, but outscored the Indians 22-13 in the fourth quarter for the final three-point margin.
"There is no quit in our kids," Smith added. "They do whatever it takes to pull out a victory. One thing we need to work on is playing with intensity and a little emotion. That's what got us back into the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter."
The Cyclones led 18-14 after one quarter but were outscored 15-14 in the second frame for a 32-29 advantage at the half. Sac City held a 24-15 edge in the third quarter.
Alta was led by post player Tyler Boyd, who scored 18 points and added five assists, three steals and three rebounds.
Senior point guard Brad Payne added 17 points, five assists and five rebounds. Paul Allerdings added eight points while Colin Huseman grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and added six points.
Alta was 18 of 32 on two point shots for 56 percent and five of 14 from beyond the arc for 38 percent.
Free throws were a significant factor for Alta, which made 18 of 25 shots from the line.
The Cyclones play three times this week, hosting Sioux Central Tuesday night, playing at LeMars Gehlen Thursday and hosting Schaller-Crestland Friday night.