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Decker picks up 500th career coaching victory

Lourdes boys defeat Kasson-Mantorville

Rich Decker has done it. The Rochester Lourdes boys basketball coach has lofted himself into the elite 500-win club.

Decker entered the season needing three wins to become one of six active boys basketball coaches to have won 500 games in their career. And he and his team picked them up just like that, winning for the third time in as many tries Tuesday night.

This latest triumph came easily, as Lourdes used its ferocious defense to storm past Kasson-Mantorville 67-24 in Hiawatha Valley League action at Alumni Hall. Lourdes also has impressive road wins over Winona Cotter and Austin this season.

"I am glad to have this over with, but I am also starting to understand the magnitude of it," Decker said of hitting the 500 mark. "I really appreciate the kind words and notes and e-mails I've gotten from everyone. It's been very gratifying."

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As Decker was relaying those thoughts to a reporter, he was in his Lourdes classroom, watching a tape from last year of Byron's basketball team. Lourdes plays at the powerful Bears on Friday.

"I'm sitting here watching the film of Byron, trying to figure out how to get No. 501," Decker said.

Lourdes got No. 500 behind a hustling defense that permitted K-M just two points in the first quarter and 13 in the first half.

"Lourdes really took us out of our game with hustling and pounding the glass," K-M coach Nic Matejcek said. "I think they had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half."

Matt Warner, a 6-foot senior, turned in an especially strong effort for Lourdes with 12 rebounds and 16 points. The Eagles got a game-high 16 points from Ted Garry, as well as 12 assists from sophomore point guard Tyler Kodet.

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