Second half lifts Jays over Royals

Thursday, January 3, 2019

For the second time in a span of two weeks, the MMCRU Royals’ boys’ basketball team hit the hardwood with the Gehlen Catholic Jays in a War Eagle Conference matchup, this time on the road. Fans from both sides were hoping for another high intensity game, after watching the lady Royals come just short of a victory.

These two teams met on Friday, November 30, with the Jays taking care of business 67-36. With the Royals coming off of their first win, it was important for the visitors to start fast.

Gehlen however, had different plans. The Royals were forced to take a quick timeout as the Jays got off to a hot start, taking an early 10-0 lead. Trailing 12-4 after a quarter of play, the Royals clawed their way back and created a 10-0 run of their own when Joel Johnson scrambled for a loose ball, and dished to Andrew Prescott driving down the lane to knot things up at 12.

The Royals went on to take their first lead of the game when Andy Maass found Robert Russell on a backdoor cut to make it 18-16, with just two minutes left of the first half. MMCRU led 20-18 with time winding down, but Gehlen guard Payton Rochford connected from deep to give the Jays a slim 21-20 lead at the break.

The Royals weren’t able to continue the momentum, as they scored just two points in the third quarter, putting themselves in a 36-22 ball game. The Jays scored 25 in the final stanza, enroute to a 61-33 victory.

The victorious Jays were led by both of their big men, Caden Kneip and Zack Kraft, who scored 20 and 15 points respectively. Peyton Rochford had eight, who was followed by Jacob Nemmers with seven. Kneip and Kraft were also the leading rebounders, as they have been all season. Senior Ethan Mousel tallied five assists on the night to lead all players from both teams.

The Royals were led with eight points from senior guard Joel Johnson. Andrew Prescott poured in six of his own, and Jordan Marks added five, as did Cody Dias. Johnson also led the rebounding category with six and assists with three. It was a cold night shooting for the Royals. They shot just 14 of 52 from the field, which includes 3 of 20 from beyond the arc.

Sophomore guard Cade Pepper stated, “I’m proud of how we played in the first half. Gehlen has a talented team, but we know that we can play with anyone.”

Up next for the Royals are the Unity Christian Knights on Friday, January 4, in Marcus.