Gehlen exacts revenge against No. 5 ranked rival RSM
REMSEN — Keaten Bonderson’s words were direct. “This is a big rivalry game that always goes wire to wire,” said the 6-foot Gehlen Catholic senior, as he reflected on the squad’s biggest victory of the season, Tuesday’s 57-51 win over War Eagle Conference rival and Class 1A No. 5 ranked Remsen St. Mary’s at the Jerry and Marlene Harpenau Family Gym. “You got to be tough to win that game. We hadn’t done that for a few games in a row (against Remsen St. Mary’s). It’s good to get one from them.”
Bonderson supplied 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists (one on Drake DeRocher’s buzzer-beating 3-point field goal that ended the first quarter and another on Zayne Weiland’s three at the buzzer to end the third quarter) and a steal for Gehlen Catholic (9-1, 3-1 WEC), which avenged a 62-50 loss at Deb Campbell Memorial Gym on Dec. 20.
Keaton Logan added 13 points and three rebounds for Coach Mike Langel’s Jays, who won a game that featured eight second-half lead changes, six which occurred in the fourth quarter. DeRocher tallied 12 points.
Langel saw the Jays win a 66-59 overtime decision over Akron-Westfield Monday and said his squad kept their composure for the second straight night. One of the keys, he said, was the play off the bench from 6-foot-4 senior Carter Kellen, who did his very best against 6-4 Remsen St. Mary’s sophomore Collin Homan, who recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
“Our kids are senior-heavy and they’re starting to believe in each other,” said Langel. “They’re starting to play more as a team all of the time. I thought they have been like that all along, but they’re getting better at knowing where guys are, knowing where to make the pass and where to cut. That’s a big part of basketball.
“Our team defense tonight was good,” he added. “It was a team effort defensively to get Homan stopped. He was a load. Team defense, team offense, it was good all the way around.”
Cael Ortmann scored 15 points and threw six assists for Remsen St. Mary’s (6-1, 4-0 WEC), which rallied from deficits of 7-0 and 21-13 in the first quarter to pull within 30-28 at halftime. The Hawks lost a 34-32 third-quarter lead. Meanwhile, a 36-all tie snapped when the Jays went on a 7-0 run that held the home team scoreless for 3 ½ minutes. Jaxon Bunkers (11 points, 5 rebounds) ended the drought with an inside basket and a free throw to complete a three-point play after he was fouled by Connor Kraft with 6:49 left in the game to trim the deficit to 43-39. Ortmann’s three pulled the Hawks within 43-42.
The lead changed for the third time when Homan hit a pair of free throws for a 44-43 advantage following Ryan Augustine’s offensive foul with 5:46 left. Bonderson responded with his third three of the game to give the Jays a 46-44 lead. However, Homan’s 7-point fourth quarter continued when he made a free throw to complete a three-point play and a 47-46 lead after he was fouled by Gabe Wiltgen.
“I don’t think they had an answer for Homan,” said Remsen St. Mary’s co-head coach Justin Ruden. “We had to get it into him. Good things were going to happen if we got it to him. That was the case.”
Wiltgen assisted on DeRocher’s underneath basket for a 48-47 lead. However, after Homan’s basket with 4:13 left, Logan was fouled on a three-point attempt by Landon Waldschmitt and sank all three charity-stripe attempts for a 51-49 lead with 2:26 left. Bonderson and DeRocher combined on 6-of-6 free throw shooting in the final 33 seconds to seal the win.
“We played tougher defense,” said Bonderson. “We got in the lanes. We packed the lanes more. Of course, rebounding was better. We boxed out better. We emphasized needing to box out and rebound. We did that tonight.”
The son of Remsen St. Mary’s co-head coach Scott Ruden feels the Hawks need to solve an offense which he describes as “stagnant”. He was pleased with the fight they showed.
“We never did give up on anything,” said Justin Ruden. “We had moments where we did good things, but then we turned to bad habits, then moments of good things. We weren’t consistent the way we wanted to be the whole game.”