Cardinals rally from 17 down to beat Royals in Sentry Classic opener
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT — It may not have been pretty in the first half, but the Pacelli boys’ basketball team never looked away from a win. The Cardinals were down 17 at the break on Dec. 28, tied the game up by the end of regulation, and dominated overtime in a 67-57 win over Assumption at the Sentry Classic.
Assumption came into the matchup knowing what Pacelli wanted to do offensively. The Royals matched that by playing in front of the Cardinals’ length in transition. Assumption’s focus was on hitting perimeter shots offensively while rebounding, and not letting sophomore Jaydon Awe get to his right hand was the priority defensively. A well-coached and well-executed first half had Pacelli taking tough interior shots and settling for perimeter ones at times. The Cardinals stared down a 36-19 deficit at halftime.
The second half began, and the Cardinals started to push. Camden Schurk and Awe started by attacking the rim with ease. They cut the 17-point Assumption lead to 10 in the opening three minutes of the half, trailing now 41-31 with 13:41 left in the game. Schurk finished with a team-high 20 points after a first-half struggle. Awe finished right behind him with 18 points and 19 rebounds.
The buckets kept pouring in for the Cardinals, with it being Logan Mayer later cutting the lead to four with a mid-range jumper. The junior had a few pull-ups at big moments of the second stanza. He finished with 10 points.
Awe laid one home to finally take the lead with about three minutes left, 51-49. The two teams ended knotted at 55 with seconds remaining. Pacelli turned the ball over under the hoop on a potential go-ahead possession, giving the Royals a chance with three seconds on the timer. Assumption had a good look just inside the half-court line but missed. The nightcap headed for an extra four-minute period.
A different face took over for Pacelli to close out a win. Junior Andrew Van Order scored all seven of his points in the overtime period. He started with an and-one and finished with two trips to the free-throw line. Pacelli outscored the Royals 12-2, running away with a victory in its opening tournament game.
The Cardinals have a day between their next game, playing Amherst on Dec. 30 at 2:30 p.m.