ALTA - The Alta boys' basketball team used a stellar shooting effort Tuesday night to propel them to their ninth win over the season Tuesday night as they topped St. Mary's, 61-45.
The Cyclones' balanced attack went a combined 23 of 45 (51%) from the field, including eight of 15 from long range.
Jeremy Lambert led all scorers, turning 18 points for Alta on the night. Austin Stille and Michael Huseman were also in double figures for the Cyclones, totaling 15 and 11, respectively. Jack Mills and Jalen Henningsen added eight apiece.
The win is a big one for Alta who, despite having already clinched third in the Northwest Conference, have a brutal end to the regular season in strore. The Cyclones host Twin Lakes Conference-leading East Sac (12-6) Thursday, Northwest Conference-leading Laurens-Marathon (13-1, #6 in 1A) Friday, Westwood (10-5) Tuesday, and Unity Christian (13-3, #10 in 2A) February the 13th.
Regardless of how that brutal stretch turns out for Alta (9-6, 8-3 in NW Conf.), the Cyclones will be at home February 19th in the first round of regionals when they try to make it three straight against the very same Panther squad.
St. Mary's entered Tuesday night's game fresh off of an 88-46 homecoming romp of Aurelia, but Panthers were ice cold in Alta, turning in their lowest scoring output of the 2008-2009 season.
The Panthers were held to just 19 of 59 (32%) shooting from the field, and they made just 3 of 10 free throw attempts and Alta was able to complete the regular season sweep of St. Mary's.
Nathan Lenhart led the Panthers, scoring 13 points to go with seven rebounds. Connor Richardson dropped 30 on Aurelia Friday night, but was held to just 10 points against the Cyclones. The sophomore guard added team highs in assists (4) and steals (6).
St. Mary's (9-9, 5-6 in NW Conf.) closes out their regular season by visiting Harris-Lake Park tonight, hosting Schaller-Crestland (0-15, 0-11 NW Conf) Friday, and hosting Rockwell City-Lytton next Friday.