Published Monday, February 24, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 11:03 pm
BASKETBALL
Wildcats get past Bison, 54-41

St. Paul made the most of its opportunities in the first round of the Class C-1, Subdistrict 9 Tournament as it defeated Central City 54-41 Monday at Northwest High School.

The Wildcats (4-17) built an early lead, then fended off challenges by the Bison in the second and third periods before pulling away in the final eight minutes. St. Paul coach Derek Reinsch said his team was able to answer the bell every time the Bison started to cut into their lead.

“Our kids responded well tonight,” he said. “We counted on our defensive intensity to be big for us. We were able to force some turnovers and create some offensive situations. It seemed to be that those turnovers tended to come at some inopportune moments for Central City, and they ended up being big.”

After jumping to an 8-0 lead, the Wildcats saw Central City (4-19) begin to come to life offensively. The Bison got 3s for Will Wagner and Andrew Lee to cut the lead to one point at the end of the first.

Central City then managed to tie the score at 16 near the midpoint of the second period, but the Wildcats responded with a powerful rally to finish the half.

St. Paul outscored the Bison 12-1 over the next four minutes, as a basket from Wyatt Stoltenberg started the run. Landon Vogel hit a jumper in the lane, then Dylan Woodgate took a pass from Joshua Harrahill for the layup. When the smoke settled, Central City found itself on the wrong end of a 28-17 score.

“We missed a couple free throws there and St. Paul finished the half very strong,” Central City coach Jimmy Motz said. “We settled for too many jump shots in the first half instead of working the ball inside.”

To their credit, the Bison started the second half strongly and were able to cut the Wildcat lead down to four. Wagner scored on a short jumper, then after a three by St. Paul’s Riley Schulte, the Bison ran off four straight baskets.

St. Paul countered with another offensive burst to push the lead back to 10, only to see Matthew Gilg score twice to make it a six-point game late in the third.
But Central City was out of opportunities, as Harrahill scored late in the fourth and the Wildcats quickly pushed the lead back to 10 and more as the fourth quarter unfolded.

Harrahill, who finished with 18 to lead all scorers, tagged on a couple of late baskets to ensure that the Bison were never able to threaten the St. Paul lead.
Reinsch gave Harrahill credit for providing continual leadership over a difficult season.

“He carries a heavy load for us,” Reinsch smiled. “When he’s on the floor we never panic. Everybody stepped up for him tonight — we had some other kids play huge roles for us. Stoltenberg hit a bunch of shots for us, and I thought Ryley Schulte really handled the ball well for us.”

Stoltenberg added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats, while Wagner topped the Bison with 10 points and snared 11 rebounds.

The Wildcats face a rematch with Grand Island Central Catholic, which defeated St. Paul last Friday 63-47, in a subdstrict semifinal Tuesday. Reinsch said his team relishes the chance for a rematch.

“The big thing for us tonight was to not look past Central City,” he said. “We gave Central Catholic everything they wanted on our home court the other night. Our team is hungry and we’ll be ready to go.”

Central City (4-19): Gilg 3-8 0-2 6, Lee 3-12 1-2 8, Geiger 0-1 1-2 1, Wagner 3-10 0-0 7, Carlson 1-3 0-0 2, Ohlman 2-10 3-6 7, Hamer 0-0 0-2 0, Wagner 5-12 0-0 10. Totals 17-56 5-14 41.
St. Paul (4-17): Jerabek 0-4 0-0 0, Eschliman 1-1 0-0 2, Harrahill 6-15 6-7 18, Stoltenberg 6-10 1-2 13, Schulte 3-6 1-2 9, Woodgate 1-5 0-0 2, Vogel 4-9 2-5 10. Totals 21-50 10-16 54.

Central City ........................ 12 5 16 8 — 41
St. Paul .............................. 13 15 13 13 — 54

3-point shooting — CC 2-22 (Gilg 0-3, Lee 1-7, Wagner 1-7, Carlson 0-1, Wagner 0-4), SP 2-15 (Jerabek 0-2, Harrahill 0-3, Schulte 2-3, Woodgate 0-4, Vogel 0-3). Rebounds — CC 43 (Ohlman 13, Wagner 11), A 29 (Stoltenberg 11). Assists — CC 11 (Lee 7), SP 14 (Harrahill 5). Turnovers — CC 14, SP 5. Personal Fouls — CC 16, SP 14. Fouled Out — None. Technical Fouls — None.

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