HARTINGTON — The Cedar Catholic Trojan basketball team is cruising right now and only bad weather seems to slow them down.
It was a relatively slow week for the Trojans (7-3) after a 65-56 win against Boone Central, while games against Dakota Valley and Pierce had to be postponed due to the elements with hoped for reschedules pending.
Cedar earned a 15-12 first-quarter advantage, then turned up the heat in the second frame, putting together an impressive 25-14 run to take a 40-26 lead into the locker room.
“The key to our win against Boone Central is we played with a lot of energy and intensity in the first half,” Cedar head coach Matt Steffen said. We seemed to lose some of that intensity at halftime.”
The Cardinals tried to climb back into the game by outscoring Cedar 30-25 over the final 16 minutes, but it was too little too late.
The Trojans were led by Myles Thoene and Jaxson Bernecker. Thoene was a hot shooter all night long, hitting 4-6 in close and 5-11 from downtown. He was also 4-4 from the charity stripe. Bernecker also logged a stellar performance with another double-double. He knocked down 15 points and yanked down 14 rebounds.
Blake Arens, a junior Trojan, is said to embody the “work hard and play hard” ethos Steffen wants to see from his team.
“Blake is a great example of a kid that works hard to make our team better without getting a lot of minutes in the varsity games,” Steffen said.
Arens said the team has continued to find its way as the players are slowly moving more comfortably into their roles.
“In practice and in general, everyone is just pulling together,” Arens said. “It all started to come together about two or three games ago when we beat Laurel.”
The Trojans beat the defending D1 state champions, 76-40, in emphatic fashion.
“It was the determination to beat them,” Arens said. “Once that game started, everyone was hitting shots and doing the right thing at the right time. We were all doing our job and worked as a team.”
It may have also been the first game in a while where the Trojans were not the only hot ticket in town, and that may have helped Cedar Catholic players to get even more focused.
“It was just a fun game to play because everyone was working together and it wasn’t a stressful game,” Arens said. “It felt like we found our spots and just how good we can be. There is still more room to improve on.”
Arens exemplifies that never rest with the status quo model and he said that he enjoys playing for the Trojans and simply doing his part.
“I like playing sports and a lot of my friends are in them and it’s fun to be around them,” Arens said. “It’s a bonding experience. I am just more of a supportive player who gets his job done.”
The Trojans played at Creighton Tuesday and head to Wayne Friday and Guardian Angels Central Catholic the following night.
“We will need to put a full four quarters together to beat Wayne,” said Steffen. “Wayne beat us 31-29 on a last second shot in the holiday tourney. Guardian Angels always plays tough and we’ll have to be ready to go.”
SCORING Cedar - Myles Thoene, 27; Jaxson Bernecker, 15; Mack Kuehn, 10; Carsen Arens, 6; Blake Arens, 3; Hunter Thoene, 2; Carter Arens, 2.
REBOUNDS Cedar - Jaxson Bernecker, 14; Mack Kuehn, 6; Tate Thoene, 4; Carsen Arens, 3; Myles Thoene, 3; Dagan Joachimsen, 2;
ASSISTS Cedar - Carsen Arens, 3; Tate Thoene, 1; Blake Arens, 1; Dagen Joachimesen 1; Mack Kuehn, 1; Myles Thoene, 1.
STEALS Cedar - Carter Arens, 4; Carsen Arens, 4; Tate Thoene, 3; Dagen Joachimsen, 2; Myles Thoene, 2; Hunter Thoene, 1; Jaxson Bernecker, 1.
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