L/P boys rally late for SEC win

Closing out the final minutes on a 14-3 run gave the Lyle/Austin Pacelli Athletics a win in Monday night's Southeast Conference boys basketball game.

The visiting Schaeffer Academy Lions took a one-point lead on a pair of free throws with 3:36 left in the game. The Athletics then finished strong with their big run and completed the comeback for a 75-65 win at the Pacelli Gym.

"I wish we could start like that," L/P coach Casey Anderson said of the furious finish. "We came out flat and fell behind, but the guys responded down the stretch in the second half."

Led by Nathan Hanson, who scored a game-high 23 points on the night, the Lions jumped out to an early lead. The visitors had the home team down by a 7-2 margin in the opening two minutes.

It took a while, but the Athletics came back to tie the game at 15-all on a free throw by Jordan Hart with 8:44 left in the first half. The Lions took the lead right back, then the Athletics scored on a nice outlet pass from Skylar Meyer to Damian Haugen.


This type of unselfish play would be the key to the win for L/P. Five players scored in double figures and the offensive balance allowed the Athletics to avenge an overtime loss to the Lions in Rochester earlier this season.

"That was the kind of balance we've needed and the 75 points matched our highest scoring total of the season," Anderson said. "We talked about the defensive effort at halftime, you can't just let their guards drive to the basket. Hanson had a big first half, but we held him to only two field goals in the second half."

Jordan Whitcomb was the other player for Schaeffer Academy in double figures and he hit a couple of three-pointers early in the second half. A trey from Whitcomb made it a 42-33 lead with 15:40 to play.

Max Brennan, who was one of the five L/P players in double figures, answered with a hoop and free throw at the other end. The Lions stretched their lead back out, but Jordan Hart countered with a three-pointer for the Athletics.

Meyer spent more time distributing the ball to his teammates on the break in the first half. He found the shooting touch in the second half and scored 13 of his 17 points. David Diang led the Athletics with 21 points as the two top scorers for L/P pushed their team to victory.

"I work a lot with David in practice and we think alike on the court," Meyer said. "I got some open looks against their defense in the second half and my shots started dropping. There's no reason we should've lost the first time against those guys and it was nice to take the rematch. We just need to come out strong and keep playing at a high level throughout the game."

Down the stretch, the Athletics were forced to play at a highly competitive level because the Lions wouldn't go away without a fight. A basket from Meyer tied the game for the last time at 54-all with seven minutes left. The Lions ran off four straight points, but Diang answered with a trey.

The see-saw nature of the contest continued until Meyer hit a basket to start the decisive run and give L/P the lead for good. Brennan, Stephen Juenger, and Diang all made crucial free throws over the final two minutes to seal the deal. The home win snapped a three-game losing skid.


Lyle/Pacelli (7-8 overall, 4-6 SEC) plays Southland on Thursday night at the Lyle Gym.



Nathan Hanson 23, Jordan Whitcomb 10, Dan Streifel 9, Luke Harris 8, Joshua Hanson 6, Zachary Sanger 3, Roman Lahr 2, Joseph Vaughan 2, Justin Guse 2.


David Diang 21, Skylar Meyer 17, Damian Haugen 11, Jordan Hart 10, Max Brennan 10, Stephen Juenger 3, Jonah Rohne 3.

Halftime:Schaeffer 35, Lyle/Pacelli 31.

Free throws:Schaeffer 16-23, Lyle/Pacelli 18-32.


Three-point goals:SA 3 (Whitcomb 2, Sanger 1). LP 3 (Diang 1, Hart 1, Haugen 1).

Rebounds:L/P 36 (Meyer 13, Brennan 9).

Fouled out:SA, Whitcomb; LP, Rohne.

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