You can pick the moniker, they all fit the Boone Central boys basketball team after a pair of thrilling victories in last week’s C1-8 sub-district basketball tournament in Grand Island.
Boone Central (13-10) twice rallied from big early deficits, catching G.I. Central Catholic at the end of regulation and defeating the Crusaders 57-50 in overtime Tuesday, then nipping top-seeded St. Paul 42-39 in the final seconds Thursday.
With the victories, BC advanced to the C1-4 District final Monday night in Columbus.
Boone Central’s post-season outlook did not appear very bright following the first eight minutes of the C1-8 opener Tuesday, as G.I.C.C. raced to a 16-6 lead.
A defensive switch and never-say-die attitude helped the Cardinals dig out of that early hole, however, and set up the opportunity for late heroics.
Boone Central still trailed 40-35 with 3:16 remaining in the contest, but Derek Gentrup’s jumper in the lane and three-point field goal, sandwiched around two free throw misses by G.I.C.C.’s Youhanna Ghaifan, knotted the score at the 1:41 mark.
A steal and layup by Central Catholic’s Trevor Cornelius again put BC behind, but Beau Bremer’s baseline jumper produced a 42-42 deadlock and strong Cardinal defense forced an errant three-point attempt by the Crusaders in the final seconds.
With new life, Boone Central set the pace in the overtime period. Two free throws by Brett Temme and a driving three-point play by Tyler Hedlund gave the Cardinals a 47-42 lead in the opening two minutes.
G.I.C.C. closed the gap to 49-47 when Cornelius’ jump shot bounced around the rim and in with :33 remaining, but Hedlund answered with a pair of free throws and Cornelius missed a long three-point attempt that caromed out-of-bounds.
Following a timeout, G.I.C.C. set up full-court pressure on the Cardinals. Temme found Kade Leetch streaking behind the defense for a “touchdown” layup and, after Derrick Broekmeier sank a trey for the Crusaders, Temme’s two free throws iced the decision for BC.
A season may have passed before the eyes of Boone Central players, coaches and fans while Kade Leetch’s long three-point shot was in the air Thursday night.
With BC trailing by two points and the end of the 2011-12 campaign potentially 27 seconds away, Leetch’s shot hit nothing but net, setting off raucous jubilation on the Cardinal side of the court.
A subsequent steal and Tanner Mazour’s two free throws secured a 42-39 victory and advanced BC to district final play.
Another rally from a terrible start. Another clutch performance. Ho-hum for the Cardiac Cardinals.
“St. Paul started with a lot of energy and determination. They hit their shots and we struggled to get a good start,” Zoucha said. “We were not able to gain a lead through three quarters and were down as much as seven after the first two possessions of the fourth.
“Our players kept playing hard and, in our last four possessions, we outscored St. Paul 10-2.
“We were able to gain this win by our players’ determination. Once again, the guys just found a way to get another W.”
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