REMSEN - The 2009 portion of the St. Mary's boys basketball campaign picked up right where it left off in 2008. Unfortunately for Panther fans, that meant St. Mary's turned in another dominant first half performance only to struggle late and fall.
The Panthers stood toe to toe with undefeated Sioux Central before watching the game slip out of their grasp in the second half as they entered the holiday break. It was more of the same Saturday at the CYO Tournament in Remsen as they dominated LeMars Gehlen (3-1) leading 36-19 at the half before losing their lead for good with only three minutes left in the game.
"It was a great first half," said Panther head coach Brad Wilkening. "We pressed and played defense with good intensity. In the third quarter, they played man to man, and caused us to turn the ball over. We were still up seven but not playing with the same intensity."
The Panthers led 43-36 heading into the fourth, but the Jays outscored St. Mary's 25-14 in the final quarter to secure the victory.
Gehlen took their first lead of the game with three minutes left in the game. St. Mary's was able to cut it back to just one point, but their foul trouble allowed the Jays to clinch the game at the line.
LeMars Gehlen shot 31 free throws on the night to just 18 by St. Mary's.
The teams were fairly even on the boards and in the turnover department with the Panthers holding a 27-25 advantage in rebounds. The Jays turned the ball over 20 times compared to 23 by the Panthers.
Neither team shot particularly well with St. Mary's shooting 21 of 49 from the field and three of 11 from three point range. LeMars Gehlen was 22 of 48 but just one of ten from deep.
The Panthers' Michael Ivey led all scorers with 19 points on the night. Paul Yak was also in double figures with 13 points to go along with five steals, four assists, and two rebounds.
Connor Richardson added nine points, and Brendan Smith grabbed a team high six rebounds and five steals.
Drew Kellen paced the Jays as he finished up with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks.
St. Mary's moves to 2-4 on the season and hold a 1-2 mark in Northwest Conference play. They look to even up their conference mark tonight in Alta as they square off with the Cyclones (2-2).