The St. Ansgar Saints boys basketball team faced off against the St. Edmond Gaels from Fort Dodge in the class 1A district 3 tournament on Thursday, February 15 in a first round match up. The game was played at Bishop Garrigan in Algona with a 6:30 PM start time.
St. Ansgar got out to a nice start in against the Gaels, surging to an 8-2 lead in the first few minutes of the game. The Gaels quickly made adjustments and got back into the game. Both teams went back and forth in the first quarter, but the Saints were able to end the quarter up 14-12.
To start the second quarter, the Gaels came out aggresive on their way to a 3 point lead with 5 minutes left as coach Jason Squier of the Saints called a timeout. Following the timeout, Erik Gerdts came out for St. Ansgar and tied the game immediately with a 3 pointer that found nothing but the bottom of the net. Both teams had an answer for each other the rest of the quarter as the teams went into the locker room for half with a 24-24 score.
The third quarter was one the Saints wish they could have back. The shots just weren’t falling for the Saints, and the Gaels pulled away a little bit in the quarter, outscoring St. Ansgar 15-5 to gain a 39-29 lead going into the final quarter of the game.
The Saints started the 4th quarter attacking and drawing some fouls, cutting into St. Edmond’s lead. Unfortunately, St. Ansgar couldn’t stop the opposing offense from scoring and had to start fouling late in the game, giving up free throws, hoping for misses but St. Edmond was knocking down their shots from the charity stripe.
The Saints lost for the final time this season by a score of 56-42.
“Big thing is that they switched over to their 2-3 matchup zone and we were prepared for that,” said coach Jason Squier, “but they didn’t do it right away which I was glad to see. They have such great height inside with that and that just made it really tough on us.”
St. Edmond has three players that are 6’5” or taller on their team, making it difficult for the Saints to rebound on defense and offense.
“Those guys are excellent rebounders and we knew that going in.” Said Squier. “I thought we did a fairly good job considering what we were going against but their height was just too much for us.”
St. Ansgar probably didn’t come out the way they would have liked to in the third quarter. Being outscored by 10 points in a game can be tough to come back from when it’s a battle like it was against St. Edmond, especially in a district tournament game.
“We had some good looks tonight. They just weren’t dropping for us in the third quarter but made a nice little run there to get back into it but came up just a little short.”
Ethan Kirchgatter was the high scorer for the Saints, finishing with 17 points and adding 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Collin Kramer finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and a steal. Nicholas Bork ended the night with 4 points and 5 rebounds and Erik Gerdts was a perfect 2-2, scoring 6 points on two three pointers. Jack Sievert added 5 points and 6 rebounds and Adam Williams scored 2 points.
St. Ansgar finished thier 2017-2018 season with an 11-10 record and finished in 5th place in the Top of Iowa Conference East Division standings. This year’s team was a fun one to watch, and they came a long way from the first game of the season to the last game of the season. There will be a lot of returning players next season for St. Ansgar, but for seniors Nicholas Bork and Anthony Williams, this was their last game for the St. Ansgar basketball program.
“We’re going to miss Nicholas and Tony,” coach Squier said. “They’ve been with this program for 4 years and have been two solid kids who came and worked hard every day and we’re going to miss them but we do have a lot of these guys from this year’s team that will be returning next season. These guys have really grown so much throughout the season. Coming into this season we had to fit a bunch of pieces together that really hadn’t played a bunch of basketball together. I knew we would have some of those growing pains early on like we had a couple of nights. I just thought it was awesome how this group came together and figured out how to play some good basketball together. The cool thing about this group is that they are very unselfish. They just want to win and that’s a really great thing. As we progressed throughout the season they didn’t really care who was getting the ball during the game, as long as we could put ourselves into a position to win the games we were playing.”