RSM boys continue recent success against Jays
LE MARS — It’s been a rivalry series that’s been fairly competitive over the last few years and yet has seen both sides string together long streaks against the other. Monday’s (February 4) 68-50 win for Remsen St. Mary’s over Gehlen Catholic in boys basketball was a bit of an outlier in its final margin. In fact, the 18 point win is the largest by either side since the 2013-14 season when the Jays earned a 21 point win. In the 12 meetings since that point, eight have been decided by single digits and two have been one possession games including the first meeting this year in which the Hawks rallied late for a 45-43 win.
Gehlen Head Coach Mike Langel said his team is still trying to get back on track after that first loss to the Hawks. The Jays have gone 3-4 since the first meeting after starting the season 9-2 prior to that game.
“I thought when Remsen beat us the last time it took some wind out of our sails,” Langel said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit since then. We’ve had some wins since then, but we’re just struggling a little bit with how to get it back. Hopefully the kids can get it going.”
Gehlen held an early lead at 7-3 before an 11-2 run by the Hawks to end the quarter gave them the advantage with Spencer Schorg hitting a 3-pointer, part of his team-best 22 points in the game, to give the Hawks the lead.
Gehlen answered back with the first seven points of the second quarter started off by a Carter DeRocher 3-pointer, one of his two in the game, as the Jays took a brief lead.
Schorg and Brayden Ricke cashed in on old-fashioned 3-point plays to put the Hawks back in front and they never relinquished the lead again.
“It was a great atmosphere getting ready for tournament time,” RSM co-Head Coach Scott Ruden said. “That was a big win.”
RSM was playing without Brady Homan and Blaine Harpenau who average a combined 13 points per game, but it didn’t seem to matter much as the team got production in other places.
“Without two starters, I thought the whole team stepped up, not just one person,” Ruden said. “We might have played the best basketball we’ve played all year. We made great decisions, executed our offense to a T. Hit free throws, hit shots, took charges, that’s good basketball.”
The Hawks got 21 points from Skyler Waldschmitt in his best game in nearly a month while Ricke scored right at his season average of 10 and Damen Brownmiller finished seven points above his season average with nine points.
A 3-pointer from Ricke midway through the third quarter extended the lead out to 10 and forced a timeout from the Jays.
“We told them the third quarter’s huge because the pressure’s going to be on them,” Ruden said. “If we can get them down by 10 or 11, it’s going to be pressure time and it worked out in our favor.”
Langel said the Hawks shot the ball well with his own team’s perimeter shooting in the second half struggling to make shots to claw back into the game. The team made four threes in the game, but only one in the second half.
“When they needed a bucket, they got it and that’s kind of the difference,” Langel said. “They got the big buckets. When your shots are falling, that makes everything else go well and that’s how they played. We did struggle in that third quarter and we couldn’t get it to mesh tonight at the times we needed it to.”
Waldschmitt drained a 3-pointer at the buzzer at the conclusion of the third quarter which may have been the final dagger in the game. RSM slowed the tempo in the fourth quarter and while Peyton Rochford hit a 3-pointer to give the Jays a ray of hope in the waning minutes, the team was outscored 8-0 to end the game as the Hawks tallied points at the free-throw line where they were 18-of-22 for the game.
Remsen St. Mary’s has now won seven straight in the series, but still need another seven to match the 14 consecutive wins Gehlen had against the Hawks from the 2009-10 season through the 2015-16 campaign.
The Hawks hit the road for a matchup with Unity Christian on Tuesday, February 5.
RSM: Points- Schorg 22, Waldschmitt 21, Ricke 10, Brownmiller 9, Jensen 4, Schroeder 2.
Gehlen: Points- Kraft 18, Kneip 12, DeRocher 8, Rochford 6, Nemmers 4, Lehmann 2.