The Lyle/Pacelli Athletics boys basketball team, the No. 4 seed in the Section 1A playoffs gave top-seeded and No. 1 ranked Goodhue all they could handle and then some in the tournament semifinals at a jam-packed Mayo Civic Center Auditorium in Rochester Saturday, but the Wildcats grabbed the momentum of the game with two quick 3-pointers in the second half just after the Athletics claimed a 10-point lead, and what wound up being an 18-2 Goodhue run gave the Wildcats a 54-51 victory.
Lyle/Pacelli played a textbook first half in all facets of the game as their defense held Minnesota State University Manakto commit Will Opsahl to only two field goals in the first half, and offensively, the Athletics drained six of their 11 3-point field goals in the half, led by senior guard Jake Truckenmiller who drilled three of them, the last coming in the closing seconds to give LP at 27-20 lead at the half.
The two teams battled back-and-forth to start the second half, with the Athletics able to hold Goodhue at bay, as a 3-pointer from Truckenmiller gave LP a 43-34 lead with 10:34 to go, and another 3-pointer from fellow senior guard Buay Koak then gave the Athletics their biggest lead of the game at 46-36 with 9:32 to go. The Wildcats were looking for a spark to ignite a comeback, and freshman guard Luke Roschen and junior guard Jed Ryan provided it by draining two quick back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the Lyle/Pacelli lead to 46-42. After an over-and-back call on the Athletics, a layup from Opsahl cut the LP lead to 46-44, and two free throws from Koak on the ensuing Lyle/Pacelli possession would unfortunately be the last points for the Athletics until Koak drained a 3-pointer with just under :11 seconds left, an overall stretch of 9:22 without a field goal. Another 3-pointer from Roschen and a layup a short time later from forward Adam Poncelet gave the Wildcats their first lead since 2-0 at 49-48, and a free throw from forward Justin Buck sandwiched between two Lyle/Pacelli turnovers, plus another Poncelet layup helped Goodhue ultimately complete an 18-2 run that gave them a 54-48 lead on their way to the win.
Koak, who finishes his stellar career as the all-time leading scorer in Lyle/Pacelli basketball history, both boys and girls, with over 2,200 points led the Athletics in scoring Saturday with 23 points, Jake Truckenmiller, who went over 1,000 points in his career with Lyle/Pacelli finished with 14 points, fellow senior Mac Nelson drained a pair of 3’s for six points, senior forward Hunter Bauer and sophomore guard Landon Meyer each also swished 3-pointers for three points apiece, and senior guard Trey Anderson scored two points.
The Athletics finish another fantastic season with a record of 23-6, their second straight 20+ win season, while Goodhue advances to play Spring Grove in the Section 1A championship game next Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. at the Mayo Civic Center Arena. The Lions eliminated two-time defending Class A champion Hayfield in the second game at the Mayo Civic Center Auditorium Saturday 57-46 to advance.