GARRETT – It would have been difficult to find anyone who expected Concordia to steamroll Bishop Luers the way it did Wednesday night in the Class 3A Garrett Sectional.
Least of all Cadets coach Dave Miller.
Oh my goodness, yeah, Miller said shortly after his No. 5 ranked Cadets disposed of the No. 10 Knights 56-47. We told the kids this is going to be a tremendous battle and it’s going to require a great effort the whole game. I don’t know, we just kind of got on a roll and just very fortunate to get that huge lead.
The final margin, narrowed by a flurry of late 3-pointers by the Knights, was not indicative of Concordia’s dominance. After spotting Luers a 4-0 lead, the Cadets went on separate 12-0 runs in the first and second quarters to build a 20-point lead.
Shocking indeed, considering it was against a Luers team that, despite already having lost to Concordia two times in December, had lost only two other games all season. And like Concordia, winners of four straight sectionals and state titles in 2010 and 2012, the Knights had tradition, having not lost a sectional game since 2007.
They’re just an outstanding team, Miller said of the Knights. They’ve got similar losses to us. You look at common opponents, and the scores were really, really similar. We’re pretty evenly matched. Obviously that was a huge concern for us.
Concordia (18-3) will face Bishop Dwenger in the second semifinal game Friday night.
Unbeaten and third-ranked Garrett will face Leo in the first semifinal.
Beating Luers, which finished 16-5, for a third time was the first step for the Cadets.
We prepared and practiced as if it was our last practice, Concordia senior Courtney Smith said. And if we didn’t come out and play hard it would have been our last practice. We all know it’s hard to beat a good team twice, better yet three times. We knew it was going to be tough, so we had to bring it today, and I’m glad we did.
Smith teamed with DeJour Young to lead Concordia with 17 points each, while helping Shania Kelly inside defensively in holding Luers sophomore Tashayla Sutorius to just three points. In the decisive first three quarters, the Knights shot just 29 percent from the field and 22 percent from 3-point range.
Again, not what anyone expected.
Your sectional here is probably the best sectional in 3A, and we drew the monster the first game, said Luers coach Denny Renier, whose team moved up to Class 3A this season. I thought we were another monster, along with Garrett. But we weren’t tonight. We weren’t tonight.
Emma Wolfe led Luers with 15 points and Erin Butler added 12.
I’m proud of the kids, Renier said. We were 16-5, and we lost three times to Concordia. That’s disappointing, but they’re a very good basketball team. Whoever plays them better play very solid to beat them. Once you get down that far to them, you’re not going to catch them. They’re too good.