The Lyle/Pacelli Athletics boys basketball team, the No. 4 seed in the Section 1A tournament and the No. 9 ranked team in the state in Class A in the latest poll from the Minnesota Basketball News took on No. 5 seed Fillmore Central in the tournament quarterfinals at the Mayo Civic Center Auditorium in Rochester Monday evening, and in a game between the two highest scoring teams in Section 1A, the Athletics used a big second half run to pull away for a 72-52 win.
Lyle/Pacelli never trailed in the game as the club sprinted out to a 23-7 lead, thanks in large part to draining six of their 12 3-point field goals in the first half, with senior guard Jake Truckenmiller hitting three, fellow senior guard Buay Koak draining two on his way to 16 first-half points, and senior forward Mac Nelson and sophomore guard Landon Meyer adding one apiece to eventually give the Athletics their largest lead of the first half at 19 points at 33-14. Just when it looked as if Lyle/Pacelli would roll to an easy victory, the Falcons started battling their way back late in the first half and stymied the Athletics offensive attack, while closing the half on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 11 at halftime at 35-24.
Fillmore Central kept their momentum from the end of the first half rolling into the start of the second stanza as they opened the half on a 16-9 run to creep as close as six points at 46-40, but it was there that Lyle/Pacelli started their game-clinching run as a basket from Mac Nelson, who scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half, a 3-pointer from Jake Truckenmiller, a free throw from Buay Koak, another 3-pointer from Truckenmiller, a dunk and a layup from Koak, a free throw and a 3-pointer from Nelson, and a 3-point play from Truckenmiller off a Falcon turnover accounted for a 20-4 run to break the game wide open at 66-44.
Lyle/Pacelli was 25 of 54 overall from the field offensively for 46.3%, while their defense did a stellar job on a Falcon squad that came into the game averaging just over 70 points a game, holding Fillmore Central to 16 of 59 shooting for only 27.1%. The Athletics also outrebounded the Falcons by a margin of 43-32, and they also forced 13 Fillmore Central turnovers to 10 of their own in the win.
Koak led the Athletics in scoring Monday night with 28 points, plus he added nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and four blocked shots, Truckenmiller tallied 18 points, two rebounds and one assist, Nelson contributed a double-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals, Landon Meyer wound up with seven points, four rebounds and a blocked shot, Dylan Christianson scored two points and David Chrstianson added one point in the victory Monday evening.
With the win, Lyle/Pacelli is now 23-5 on the season, and the Athletics will tangle with No. 1 seed and No. 1 ranked Goodhue in the Section 1A semifinals Saturday morning, and you’ll hear the game live from the Mayo Civic Center Auditorium on AM 1480 KAUS, myaustinminnesota.com, and the I Heart Radio and radio.com apps, with the pre-game show starting at 10:40 a.m., and tip-off at 11 a.m.