HARTINGTON — Cedar Catholic started strong to get in front of Laurel-Concord-Coleridge Jan. 5 at the Monsignor Werner Activities Center.
The Bears stuck around to make it more than interesting before the Trojans made enough baskets in the final minutes to ride a big third-quarter advantage for the win, 52-44.
The Trojans improved to 7-1 on the season in boys basketball while the Bears dropped to 8-3.
Cedar Catholic is rated fourth in most state polls, while LCC has now dropped out of the Top 10.
“Give LCC credit, we just couldn’t shake them,” Cedar Catholic coach Matt Steffen said. “The (Jake) Rath kid really gave us some trouble inside — we had to work for this one, which is always the case when you take them on.”
The Trojans raced to a 23-4 lead after the opening eight minutes and led 19-12 at the halftime rest stop.
Cedar Catholic increased the advantage to 15 late in the third quarter, but the Bears made a charge down the stretch to get within five in the final period.
The Trojans righted the ship in the final minutes to come away with the eight-point win.
“We still have some things we need to work on as we get into the back side of our schedule,” Steffen said. “Shot selection is just one of those things — we will continue to get better.”
Tyan Baller paced Cedar Catholic with 14 points, including a couple of 3-pointers.
Jaxson Bernecker contributed 10, Andrew Jones and Carsen Arens added nine points each, and Nolan Becker tossed in eight.
Bernecker pulled down eight rebounds while Jones snared five. Baller also had seven steals in the game and Jones added four.
Rath led all scorers with 26 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
The Trojans were set to take on undefeated Wynot on the road Jan. 10 before heading on back-to-back road trips.
Cedar Catholic is scheduled to head up to McCook Lake, S.D., to take on Dakota Valley on Jan. 13 before a trip to Pierce to take on the Bluejays in Mid-State Conference action.
The Bluejays gave the Trojans their only loss of the season in the semifinals of the Elkhorn Valley Bank & Trust/Northeast Nebraska Shootout at Wayne back on Dec. 29, 59-39.
LCC 4 8 15 17 — 44 Cedar Catholic 13 6 19 14 — 52
FG 14-31 15-38 3PT 2-11 3-13 FT 10-11 13-18 Reb 26 32 TOs 14 9 SCORING
LCC - Jake Rath, 26; Carter Kvols, 10; Kolby Hansen, 3; Tyler Olson, 3; Gibson Roberts, 2. Cedar - Tyan Baller, 14; Jaxson Bernecker, 10; Andrew Jones, 9; Carsen Arens, 9; Nolan Becker, 8; Grant Arens, 2.
LCC - Jake Rath, 12; Carter Kvols, 7; Gibson Roberts, 3; Kolby Hansen, 3; Tyler Olson, 1. Cedar - Jaxson Bernecker, 8; Andrew Jones, 5; Tyan Baller, 3; Carsen Arens, 3; Nolan Becker, 3; Grant Arens, 2; Jay Steffen, 1.
LCC - Dylan Taylor, 1; Gibson Taylor, 1; Tyler Olson, 1. Cedar - Tyan Baller, 1; Andrew Jones, 1; Nolan Becker, 1; Jaxson Bernecker, 1.
LCC - Gibson Roberts, 2; Tylor Olson, 2; Carter Kvols, 2. Cedar - Tyan Baller, 7; Andrew Jones, 4;