In Southeast Conference boys basketball you heard on AM 1480 KAUS Friday night, the Lyle/Pacelli Athletics, the No. 10 team in the state in the latest Class A poll from the Minnesota Basketball News and in first place in the West Division of the Southeast Conference played host to Spring Grove, ranked No. 11 in the latest Class A poll and in first place in the East Division. Both teams came in riding lengthy winning streaks, with the Athletics having won 11 in a row and Spring Grove 14 in a row, and it was also a matchup of the best offensive team in not only the Southeast Conference but in all of Section 1A in the personage of Lyle/Pacelli, averaging 75.1 points per game against the best defensive team in the conference and the section in the personage of Spring Grove, as the Lions came into the game giving up only 38.5 points per game. The game more than lived up to the advanced billing, as in front of a raucous sellout crowd in Lyle, the Lions jumped out to a 14-0 lead and held off a spirited Athletics comeback to win 46-40.
Spring Grove utilized a 1-2-2 press and an agressive 3-2 zone to keep Lyle/Pacelli out of rhythm offensively in jumping out to the big lead, as the Lions forced 11 first half turnovers and kept the Athletics off the scoreboard until senior guard Jake Truckenmiller drained a 3-pointer with 6:34 left in the half to make the score 14-3 at that point. Lyle/Pacelli also played excellent defense in the first half, as their man-to-man slowed the Lion offensive attack as the half went along, and Truckenmiller found the range from beyond the 3-point arc, as his four 3’s and another from senior guard Buay Koak was all the scoring for LP in the first half as the Athletics trailed the Lions 19-15 at the halftime break.
Lyle/Pacelli kept the momentum heading into the second half as they outscored Spring Grove 8-5 to start the half to cut the Lion lead to 24-23, and the Athletics later tied the game twice, once at 32 and again at 34, but they could not find the go-ahead basket as the Lions answered back with a 7-2 run to take a 39-34 lead. LP then fought back with a 6-3 run to cut the Spring Grove lead to 42-40 with under a minute to go, but a left baseline jumper from eight feet away that would have tied the game rattled out no good, the Lions pulled in the rebound and guard Jacob Olerud, who scored nine points off the Lion bench drained the only two free throws for either team in the second half in a one-and-one situation to give Spring Grove a 44-40 lead with :18 seconds left. The Athletics were able to work the ball over the timeline, but the Lions defense again came up with a big play as a steal and a layup from Olerud just before the final buzzer accounted for the 46-40 final.
Jake Truckenmiller led Lyle/Pacelli in scoring Friday night with five 3-pointers overall for 15 points, Buay Koak scored eight of his 11 points in the second half, Hunter Bauer tallied five points, Mac Nelson added four points, Landon Meyer drilled a 3-pointer in the second half for three points and Trey Anderson scored two points in the loss.
The Athletics are now 17-3 overall on the season an 14-1 in the Southeast Conference, and Lyle/Pacelli will be back in action Thursday night in LeRoy versus the Cardinals of LeRoy/Ostrander in a Southeast Conference West Divison matchup, with the varsity tip-off at 7:15 p.m. that evening.