Published Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 10:05 pm / Updated at 10:08 pm
BASKETBALL
GICC JV capture tourney title

Grand Island Central Catholic’s junior varsity team won the first tournament of the day for GICC.

The Crusaders JV got 12 points from Devon Beck, including a free throw in the closing seconds, to edge Heartland Lutheran 44-42 Saturday in the championship game of the Heartland Lutheran Holiday Tournament.

The Crusaders then hurried back to Central Catholic to watch their teammates down Fullerton to win the GICC Holiday Tournament.

Heartland Luthern coach Lloyd Wagnitz asked Central Catholic just a couple of weeks ago if they wanted to send their junior varsity to the tournament. GICC downed Giltner in the first round to advance to the championship game.

"It was kind of a last-minute deal," GICC coach Rob Micek said. "We were fortunate that Coach Wagnitz needed another team. We thought this would be great experience playing against pretty good varsity teams. Our kids have grown leaps and bounds in the last two days just because of the physicality of Giltner and the athleticism and skill of Heartland Lutheran. This can only help our guys going forward."

Wagnitz said playing Central Catholic will help his team too.

"I was looking forward to it because I need to see how our guys react against a man-to-man like that," Wagnitz said. "That’s going to make us better down the stretch. We didn’t adjust as well as I would have liked, but I saw some good things.

"The kids are always composed. They never felt they were beat."

The Red Hornets were right in it until Jon Simonson’s shot in the final seconds bounced off the rim. Simonson led Heartland Lutheran with 13 points while Grant Suchanek had 12 on four 3-pointers.

And most of those were long 3-pointers.

"Suchanek hit a couple from the volleyball line in the first half, and I thought Ryan Bernal had pretty good defense on him," Micek said. "It makes it awful tough on your guards and your defense if you’re guarding 23, 24 feet on their shooters. We knew coming in that they were very skilled at the guard position."

The game was tied at 37 with 3 minutes left on the clock. GICC’s Harry Heidelk broke the tie with two free throws, then Brett Wiens scored for and Treyten Ruhl added two more free throws for a 43-37 Central Catholic lead with 1:45 left.

Suchanek then hit a long but wide open 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining. Simonson added a driving shot to pull Heartland Lutheran to within 43-42 with 28 seconds remaining, but the Red Hornets could get no closer.

"Heartland Lutheran really executed very well down the stretch and we turned it over a couple of times," Micek said. "Free throws would have made a big difference, but I like the resiliency of our kids to find a way. Devin Beck knocked a free throw down which was huge to give us a two-point cushion there at the. Our kids found a way to fight through and win a varsity tournament."

Wagnitz said his team is further along at this point than he had expected.

"We’ve played some good teams," he said. "We’ve played some teams I thought we’d beat easier. We’re talking about stepping stones. We’re trying to get there at the end of the year."

GICC: Bernal 1-2 0-0 3, Pfeifer 0-11 0-1 0, Heidelk 3-6 2-5 8, Ruhl 3-7 3-4 9, Beck 5-10 1-2 12, Wiens 3-7 0-0 8, Riley 0-0 0-0 0, Ziller 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 17-45 6-12 44.

HEARTLAND LUTHERAN (6-3): Messersmith 2-4 1-2 5, Dreher 0-0 0-0 0, Jo. Simonson 6-22 0-0 13, Hueftle 3-4 1-2 7, Suchanek 4-11 0-1 12, Ja. Simonson 2-4 0-0 5, Warneke 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-46 2-5 42.

GICC JV .............................. 13 6 10 13—44
Heartland Lutheran ............ 10 6 13 13—42

3-point goals — GICC 4-12 (Wiens 2-4, Bernal 1-2, Beck 1-4, Heidelk 0-1). Heartland Lutheran 6-15 (Suchanek 4-6, Ja. Simonson 1-2, Jo. Simonson 106, Warneke 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — GICC 31 (Ruhl 11). Heartland Lutheran 30 (Hueftle 8, Messersmith 8). Turnovers — GICC 9, Heartland Lutheran 8. Total fouls — GICC 11, Heartland Lutheran 12. Technicals — None.

GIRLS

Class D-2 preseason No. 2 Giltner rode a 20-point night from senior Dani Most to a 47-41 victory over Ansley-Litchfield in the girls championship game.

Junior Kelby Lyon added nine points and a team-high nine rebounds for the Hornets (7-1).

Giltner coach Nancy Lockmon said she expected a tough game from Ansley-Litchfield (6-2).

"Actually we’re learning a lot more from that than from blowouts," Lockmon said. "I thought our kids did a good job holding their composure. We got the lead early and I don’t know if we ever gave it up. We did a good job of holding composure. They made runs at us, and we stepped right back in there."

Giltner had a 28-26 lead with 5 minutes left in the third, but built it to 37-32 heading into the final quarter.

Most hit two 3-pointers in the third to help the Hornets build the lead.

"We lost the Most girl a few times and gave her some pretty good looks at some threes and she made us pay," Ansley-Litchfield coach Travis Olson said. "Defensively if we could have tracked her a little bit better... We lost her about three times in the third quarter and she made us pay."

The Hornets maintained the lead throughout the final eight minutes, although the Spartans did get to within 45-41 on a 3-pointer by Nicole Wardyn with 44 seconds left on the clock.

"We had turnovers at some bad times," Olson said. "We haven’t really played against really good, quality teams like Giltner. It was good to have that test. Giltner is a good team. It’s good to be challenged. I thought our girls played well."

Lindsy Siegel led Ansley-Litchfield with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Shawna Paitz added 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Lockmon said she likes how her team is playing heading into the new year.

"We have some tough teams coming up," she said. "We play Palmer next Friday which is going to give us a go. They’ll be a team much like Ansley-Litchfield. We learn from this, grow up and keep improving."

GILTNER (7-1): G. Rhoades 1-3 1-2 3, S. Hinrichs 3-8 2-11 8, D. Hinrichs 2-11 1-2 6,

Most 6-22 5-8 20, Lyon 3-9 2-2 8, Lockmon 1-7 0-0 2, Joynce 0-0 0-0 0, T. Rhoades 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-61 11-25 47.

ANSLEY-LITCHFIELD (6-2): Wardyn 3-8 0-0 8, Reynolds 0-5 0-3 0, Paitz 3-11 4-6 10, Siegel 5-15 2-3 16, Bristol 0-2 0-0 0, Bailey 0-0 0-0 0, Lane 1-1 0-0 2, Lewis 0-1 0-0 0, Fecht 2-5 1-2 5. Totals 14-48 7-14 41.

Giltner ....................................... 9 12 16 10—47
Ansley-Litchfield ...................... 9 9 14 9—41

3-point goals — Giltner 4-12 (Most 3-7, D. Hinrichs 1-4, Lockmon 0-1). Ansley-Litchfield 6-18 (Siegel 4-10, Wardyn 2-5, Paitz 0-1, Fecht 0-2). Fouled out — Siegel. Rebounds — Giltner 41 (Lyon 9). Ansley-Litchfield 46 (Siegel 14). Turnovers — Giltner 7, Ansley-Litchfield 19. Total fouls — Giltner 15, Ansley-Litchfield 17. Technicals — None.

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