The No. 4 seed HTRS won his first two games in the sub-districts and needed one more to extend the season, but Blake Miller and the No. 2 seed Lourdes Central Catholic played a almost perfect basketball to transition to district play.
Friday, February 25, 2022, 9:11 a.m. CST
JOHNSON — For the second game in a row, Lourdes Central Catholic main goaltender Joe Kearney blew the whistle to end the third quarter, bringing the raucous crowd inside the Johnson-Brock Public Schools gymnasium to life.
And for the second game in a row, Kearney’s shot helped the Knights take full control of the game in the final quarter, where they retired to win 52-31 over HTRS.
HTRS (11-14) entered the sub-district final with confidence after beating Johnson-Brock earlier in the week, but ran into a buzzsaw Thursday night at Johnson.
After a strong start from behind the arc by each team in the first quarter, Lourdes continued to knock down shots from all areas of the floor, building a 22-12 halftime lead.
The Knights (14-10) got into the lane, hitting mid-range pull-ups and deep three-pointers, especially in the second half. Lourdes struggled from three against Thayer Central earlier in the week but was on target for much of the night against HTRS.
Senior Nicolas Knudson couldn’t find his sweater range, forcing the Titans to play fellow senior Gage Schaardt for most of the night.
Schaardt hit two deep three-pointers in the third on his way to unofficially score 20 points in his final game for the Titans. Lourdes was able to put a damper on other HTRS scoring threats, limiting them to a combined 11 points.
And on the attacking side, the Knights’ five senior starters all entered the scoring column, with Lourdes Central Catholic senior Blake Miller scoring 20 and beau Lee senior in 13.
Miller again took control of the game, going into the paint and finishing on the edge on contact from two three-point plays. Miller found consistent success in the lane, showing all of his tools with jumps and floats when he wasn’t colliding with Titan defenders in the hoop.
In the end, both teams emptied the benches, leaving the reserves to play the final minutes with the game out of reach late.
Lourdes will face Ainsworth in the D1-3 District Finals at Norfolk High School on Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.
HTRS (11-14): 6, 6, 6, 13 – 31
Central Catholic of Lourdes (14-10): 10, 12, 14, 16 – 52