You just can’t count these Cardinals out.
With Boone Central struggling to find points Monday against a swarming Columbus Scotus defense and its season teetering on the brink in the C1-6 Sub-District tournament, junior Julian Kunzman rode to the rescue with his best offensive performance of the season.
With Scotus bottling up leading Card scorer Ryan Shotkoski early, Kunzman led BC back from a 10-point deficit with a series of nifty drives and feathery jump shots.
Kunzman’s heroics kept the Cardinals in position to challenge in the fourth quarter, where Shotkoski broke loose for 10 of his 18 points and sparked Boone Central to a 42-36 victory over 7th-ranked Scotus (by the Omaha World-Herald).
While getting points from just three players, Boone Central, 14-7, relied on its trademark defense and made enough clutch plays to advance to a Tuesday semi-final match-up with 14-4 David City.
“Our main focus against Scotus was to limit their dribble penetration and close out on their three-point shooters,” commented BC Coach Dan Zoucha. “I felt we did those things fairly well.
“We played defense and rebounded with a lot of desire. Our intensity was outstanding.”
Scotus scored the first two baskets of the second half to take its first double-digit lead and held a 26-16 advantage when Kunzman began to light the visitors’ side of the scoreboard.
Boone Central went on an 11-0 streak with Kunzman pouring in nine of those points, his second three-point field goal of the night giving the Cards a 27-26 lead.
A three-point play by Taylor Suess regained a 29-27 edge for Scotus at the end of the third period, but Kunzman opened the fourth with his third three-pointer to put Boone Central back in front. Moments later, Shotkoski rained in a trey and the momentum switched back to the Cardinals.
Shotkoski hit two more short jumpers while Scotus missed five straight shots – three from beyond the arc – and Boone Central took a 39-33 lead on Kalvin Zoucha’s driving bank shot with around two minutes to play.
Scotus had several opportunities in the final moments, but came up empty. Ostdick missed a pair of free throws, 6-foot-6 center Trace Murray misfired on a point-blank attempt and Chase Beierman missed a wide-open layup after rebounding his own missed free throw attempt.
The Shamrocks finally closed the gap to three, 39-36, before Shotkoski hit one of two free throws with 37 seconds to play. Following two more Scotus misfires, the senior Card guard drained a pair of foul shots with 20 seconds remaining for the final margin.
Kunzman (19) and Shotkoski combined to score 37 of Boone Central’s 42 points and Zoucha netted the other five.
“There have been just three or four games this season where they (Kunzman and Shotkoski) were both hitting like that,” Zoucha told reporters following the game. “That is what we need.”
Boone Central nipped David City 42-41 Tuesday at Columbus High School to advance to the C1-6 Sub-District title game Thursday vs. North Bend Central, a 59-40 winner over Twin River.
Complete Details in the Print Edition of the Albion News.