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Trend emerging at Lourdes

Eagles strong play continues in win over Pine Island

By Pat Ruff

pruff@postbulletin.com

PINE ISLAND — Jim Daly had to dig to find something wrong with this performance by his Rochester Lourdes boys basketball team.

There was a four-minute span in the first half that didn’t meet his satisfaction. But other than that, he admitted his guys were awfully good in systematically romping past Pine Island 61-41 in a Hiawatha Valley League game.

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This was one that didn’t figure to be a romp. Lourdes entered with the best record in the HVL Gold Division (now 10-1, 13-6 overall), while Pine Island had the best mark in the Blue Division (now 6-5, 11-6 overall). Pine Island had also accomplished something Lourdes couldn’t earlier this season, beating Winona Cotter.

All of that background — and the fact that the game was in the Panthers’ gym — made this Lourdes performance all the more impressive. It included 66 percent shooting by the Eagles, much of it the result of precision passing.

Yeah, Daly liked what he saw. What he likes even better was that this bit of elevated play is getting to be a trend.

"Our guys really impress me with their business-like approach," Daly said. "And they really are unselfish. They don’t care who gets the credit. They don’t suffer from what we call ‘Me Disease,’ where you have to get a certain amount of offensive touches and points."

Lourdes began the game in a particular buoyant mood thanks to the return of 6-foot-5 center David Timmons. Timmons, a wiry senior, had been out since breaking his wrist Dec. 12.

He entered the game with about three minutes elapsed in the first half, and his impact was immediate. He quickly grabbed an offensive rebound and put it in the basket. That gave Lourdes its first lead, and one it would never relinquish.

Timmons, who also was active on the boards and defensively against Pine Island standout center Josh Miller, finished with eight points. All of them came in the first half. He helped hold Miller to just six points. Luke Matzek and Jake Gabor led Pine Island, with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

"I think Timmons entering the game was a big lift for everyone," Daly said. "Plus, having him out there allowed some of our guys who weren’t getting many breathers in recent games, to get some. It made us a lot deeper."

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Lourdes, which built a 27-14 lead in the first half, only to see it shrink to a five-point advantage at halftime, jumped on and stayed on the Panthers after that.

Lourdes led 50-30 at 10:21 after Aaron Ruff scored on a put-back basket.

There would be no threat of a comeback by Pine Island after that. Lourdes, which had four players score at least eight points, saw to it with their balanced and controlled attack. Guard Dan Lose led the way offensively with 15 points. Forward Rob Poterucha had 12, including three 3-pointers, and guard Tom Gores had 11.

"You don’t want to get behind Lourdes because they control the ball so well," Pine Island coach Ryan Raabe said.

Lose, who is in his third year as a Lourdes starter, says his team has hit a new stride.

Beating a talented Pine Island club did nothing but boost its confidence.

"Any time you can come in and beat a good team like Pine Island by 20 points, at their place, that’s pretty good," he said.

LOURDES (61)

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Dan Lose 15, Luke Leibovich 2, Tom Gores 11, Rob Poterucha 12, Aaron Ruff 9, David Timmons 8, Thomas Wendt 2, Sean McGrath 2. Team stats: 9-16 FT.

PINE ISLAND (41)

Luke Gabor 12, Denny Meints 4, Luke Matzek 13, Jeremy McNamara 3, Josh Miller 6, Brady Hoffman 3, Braxton McNamara 0. Team stats: 11-17 FT.

Halftime: Loudes 28, Pine Island 23.

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