Boys basketball team falls to St. Thomas Aquinas

The team falls to 4-13 on the season after the 72-51 loss

Braden Shaw, JagWire editor-in-chief

Facing a highly-efficient offense and highly ranked team, the boys basketball team fell to St. Thomas Aquinas 72-51 on Friday, Feb. 10.

The team knew what this game would mean in advance and that they would need to have the right mindset, according to senior Blake Montgomery.

“We knew it was a big game,” Montgomery said. “We knew the crowd would probably be out here being loud. We knew that we had to come out playing hard. Then see what the outcome was from playing hard.”

The Jaguars fell into an early hole, trailing 21-9 at the end of the first quarter. Aquinas scored off transition and hit three pointers early which put pressure on the Jaguars’ defense according to head coach Mike Bennett.

“They have a lot of size so we tried to find a way to take that out of the game,” Bennett said. “But credit to them, they hit some shots. When you do that and build a lead, shots start to fall a little bit easier. There’s no pressure since you have a lead. They just continued to hit shots and put a lot of pressure on our defense.”

At the half, Aquinas had a 34-22 lead and extended the lead the rest of the game. Even though his team was facing a comeback scenario, Montgomery helped hold the  team together.

“I tried to get the basket and get some easy shots,” Montgomery said. “I tried to get other guys open and just tried to keep the vibe positive whether we made a mistake or we were playing well. I was just encouraging them, saying that the next one will fall.”

Junior Cooper Kaifes, who is out with a broken foot and the team’s leading scorer, was inactive for the game. Bennett has used his absence as a chance to get other players involved to become more well-rounded.

“In the long run it’s going to make us better,” Bennett said. “Kids are going to have to be forced in positions to score. Sometimes we rely on Cooper to do that. So with him out it puts other people in position to do that. Hopefully we can carry that on and when he comes back we can utilize that as well.”

This is also another game in this new league that Bennett believes will help the team become stronger and forces them to be mentally tough.

“We’re just trying to get better and that’s what our kids are doing,” Bennett said. “The Eastern Kansas League is a very tough league and we’re always going to go out and get a good opponent no matter what. We have to practice that way and we have to prepare that way. There are no nights off so we have to play [with those adjustments].”

Even after the loss, Montgomery is proud of his teammates’ efforts and believes that it can be turned into a positive.

“I don’t think the score shows how hard we played,” Montgomery said. “It’s progress from the beginning. It’s a step in the right direction. We just need to stick together and make sure we are playing hard at all times. We need to stick together on the defensive end and just work together as a team.”

The boys basketball team next plays Blue Valley Northwest at home on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

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