Stracke.jpg

WEST POINT — Guardian Angels Central Catholic posting its second third-quarter shutout in a span of five games would be impressive enough on the surface.

But considering the opponents that the Bluejays have blanked, that feat becomes even more eye-opening.

Class C No. 2-rated GACC used Saturday’s stout post-halftime defensive effort to turn a seven-point lead into a 48-29 victory over Class D No. 1 Hartington Cedar Catholic.

The Bluejays’ previous third-quarter shutout came against then undefeated Archbishop Bergan.

“We wanted to concentrate on shutting down two of their main players,” Guardian Angels coach Jerry Stracke said. “I thought we did a pretty good job doing that.

“Our defense is kind of carrying us through this year. We struggle on offense executing, but our defense is always there.”

A six-point run by the Trojans (14-3) to take their lone lead of the game 6-5 was the only time they scored more than one unanswered basket.

“They are consistent,” Cedar Catholic coach Craig Wortmann said of GACC’s defense. “They know what they want to do. That is the best team in (Class) C2, so it is what it is.

“They know what they want to do. Even when they’re making their passes running their offense, they’re throwing it before the girl is even there. We were watching that the second half. They just know what they’re doing, which makes them good.”

Makenna Noecker had a game-high 16 points for Cedar Catholic, but she was held without a shot during Guardian Angels’ 12-0 run through the third period.

“We just wanted to make sure we located her and knew where she was at at all times,” Stracke said. “She’s a great player and makes a lot of things happen for them. To be able to know where she was at was very important for us.”

The third quarter quickly took away any opportunity for the Trojans to come back.

“You’re sitting there, and you’re not mad about the first half,” Wortmann said. “But those first three minutes after playing a tough game the night before (against Wayne), trying to find the energy and excitement is big. And we just didn’t have it.

“Then they hit their shots when they needed to in the third quarter, and that pushed them over the top.”

The Trojans didn’t score in the second half for 9 minutes, 25 seconds until Noecker hit a pair of free throws. It took 12:18 for the first field goal when Grace Wortmann banked in a 3-pointer.

Offensively, the Bluejays used early success from behind the 3-point line to build a lead. They went 3 for 4 from behind the arc in the first quarter, and back-to-back treys from Isabel Hass and Brynn Baumert gave GACC a 21-10 lead in the second quarter.

Four Bluejays hit 3-pointers in the win, with Hass going 3 for 4 as part of her team-high 15-point performance.

“That (outside shooting) was good to see because the day before against O’Neill we went 2 for 23,” Stracke said. “So to have that happen is great. We have a balanced team with a lot of people who can score.”

Baumert added 11 points and six assists while Kelsey Steffen and Adyson Luebbert both had nine points.

Hartington CC 8 10 0 11 — 29

Guardian Angels CC 11 14 12 11 — 48

HARTINGTON CEDAR CATHOLIC (14-3): Makenna Noecker 3-7 9-10 16; Katy Jones 1-3 0-0 2; Samantha Pick 0-3 2-2 2; Laney Kathol 3-6 0-0 6; Lauren Bernecker 0-2 0-0 0; Melayna McGregor 0-0 0-0 0; Katelyn Arens 0-0 0-0 0; Bailey Hochstein 0-1 0-0 0; Grace Wortmann 1-1 0-0 3; McKinlee Lammers 0-0 0-0 0; Addison Walter 0-0 0-0 0; Lyndsey Hamilton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 8-23 11-12 29.

GUARDIAN ANGELS CENTRAL CATHOLIC (15-1): Isabel Hass 6-7 0-0 15; Jocelynn Skoda 2-4 0-0 4; Reese Throener 0-2 0-0 0; Brynn Baumert 4-12 1-2 11; Kelsy Steffen 4-11 0-0 9; Adyson Luebbert 2-8 4-4 9; Leah Jansen 0-0 0-0 0; Kate Jansen 0-0 0-0 0; Izzy Kreikemeier 0-0 0-0 0; Charlie Dinslage 0-0 0-0 0; Kennedy Baumert 0-0 0-0 0; Abigail Toline 0-0 0-0 0; Ava Nixon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-44 5-6 48.

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