FREMONT — It took a comprehensive effort for the Cedar Catholic High School boys basketball team to enter the holiday break on a high note, but they did just that, as they were able to pull away from a determined South Sioux City squad last week, 66-56.
Myles Thoene (20 points), Jaxson Bernecker (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Tate Thoene (13 points, 11 from the foul line) led the Trojans (2-1) to the victory.
The first-round win in the Knight Classic will now put the Trojans in the title game
The Trojans opened up the Northeast Nebraska Shootout Monday at Wayne State College against winless Pender with a potential semifinal against either heavy, Laurel Concord-Coleridge or Pierce in a Tuesday semifinal beckoning.
The win over South Sioux City took place in first-round action at the Knights Classic in Fremont. Cedar will now take on host Fremont Bergan in the title game on Jan. 2.
Cedar jumped out to an 18-15 first-quarter lead against South Sioux. The Trojans then put together a 15-10 run in the second frame to take a 33-25 lead into the break.
“South Sioux was very quick and shot the ball well from beyond the arc,” Cedar head coach Matt Steffen said. “I thought our kids kept their composure and played a better game to come out with the win. We made some adjustments at half and played better defense in the second half.”
The Pender game would come after the five-day layoff and Steffen was not going to discount a Pender threat while knowing the next matchup against one of two teams with only a combined two losses would be a tough challenge.
“This will be one of the tougher tournaments we will play in,” Steffen said. “I think we are improving every game and that’s what you want this time of year.”
Tate Thoene, a junior and two-year starter, has continued to grow in his role at running the point.
“He is an aggressive player and is working hard to become a leader and our point guard,” Steffen said.
Tate Thoene admits that the season didn’t start smoothly as the senior Trojans had to miss two weeks in a COVID-19 quarantine and an opening loss, but he acknowledged that things are moving in the right direction.
“We have shown a lot of improvement,” he said. “We have some big games coming up. The COVID didn’t have too much of an impact on the start, but I am pretty confident going into these next few tournaments.
“Our defense is going to be a big part of where we end up. We have players who can score and make plays, so it’s going to come down to our defense.”
He admitted that as the virus hopefully slowly becomes a part of history with pending vaccines, it could make for a smoother process after the issues with playing games with very few if any fans and all the other routines around dealing with the virus.
“It’s not going to bother our team too much because we are a pretty focused team,” Thoene said. “Hopefully, later in the season at away games, we could have some more fans.”
Cedar 18 15 18 15 — 65
South Sioux 15 10 15 15 — 55
Cedar S Sioux
FG 18-39 9-23
3PT 4-12 11-23
FT 18-28 3-10
Reb 37 27
TOs 13 23
SCORING Cedar - Myles Thoene, 20; Jaxson Bernecker, 14; Tate Thoene, 13; Mack Kuehn, 8; Carter Arens, 5; Carson Arens, 2; Hunter Thoene, 2; Dagen Joachimsen, 2.
REBOUNDS Cedar - Jaxson Bernecker, 11; Carter Arens, 6; Mack Kuehn, 6; Dagen Joachimsen, 5; Myles Thoene, 3; Carson Arens, 3; Tate Thoene, 2; Blake Arens, 1.
Cedar - Myles Thoene, 5; Dagen Joachimsen, 4; Mack Kuehn, 1; Carson Arens, 1; Carter Arens, 1; Jaxson Bernecker, 1.
Cedar - Tate Thoene, 4; Jaxson Bernecker, 3; Myles Thoene, 2; Mack Kuehn, 1; Carson Arens, 1; Carter Arens, 1.
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