Awe, Schurk was a much-needed one-two punch
Cardinals overpowered the No. 7 ranked Blackhawks on Jan. 17 in a 69-53 win.
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT – With first place in the CWC-South hanging in the balance, the visiting Port Edwards Blackhawks played a near-perfect opening stretch against Pacelli.
The Cardinals couldn’t solve the early pressure Port Edwards threw their way, putting them in an early 13-6 hole.
Senior Nathan Gibbs torched the net from deep, opening the game with 11 points.
Pacelli’s 6-7 big man Jaydon Awe picked up his second foul with 11:54 left in the first half to pour more salt on the wound.
Coach John Schurk kept his sophomore in the game, trusting his players to play smart.
Awe used his length as a mismatch to spark an 11-0 run to put the Cardinals up one, 32-31, at the break.
(John) Schurk noted how his team muscled back by halftime.
“Our players have the will to compete until the end,” he said.
Pacelli has been in multiple games where the second half became the difference.
Coach Schurk had a simple message in the locker room between halves.
“I’m like, ‘keep trusting each other and our system,’” he told the players.
That fire and trust were seen in the second half, pushing further ahead of Port Edwards early on.
(Camden) Schurk woke up offensively by being in the middle of a 20-6 run.
A 3-pointer by the sophomore put Pacelli up 52-37 and forced Port Edwards into a timeout.
He also had a few buckets around the rim and at the free-throw line and finishing with 13 points.
The Cardinals utilized a faster pace offensively that paired well with their defensive adjustments.
“Our transition offense is a very strong part of our game, and we encouraged the players to be true to who we are,” Schurk stated. “I am going to repeat myself, but this group has such a desire to win and have big goals.”
Awe ended the night with video game numbers, having a season-high 25 points, 19 rebounds, and seven blocks. Pacelli improved its record to 11-2 (6-0) as of Jan. 19.