A slow start doomed the Aquinas boys basketball team Dec. 9 against Archbishop Bergan. Aquinas managed to cut the Knights’ lead before falling 53-35.

The Knights jumped ahead 5-0 with a three by Grant Frickenstein and layup by Dre Vance.

“They had good pressure initially,” said Aquinas boys’ basketball coach Kyle Eller. “We didn’t turn the ball over a lot, but it still just took us out of our rhythm.”

Frickenstein hit his second three to make it 13-4. Aquinas’ Braden Smith sank a three with under a minute remaining to make it 15-7 at the end of the first quarter.

The threes kept falling early in the second quarter. Aquinas’ Tyler Vavrina hit one up top, and Frickenstein responded with his third to keep the Knights up 18-10.

The Knights outscored the Monarchs 14-10 in the second quarter. Dre Vance’s three with under a minute remaining gave Bergan the 29-17 halftime lead.

“First half I didn’t have our guys ready to go, we did not have enough pressure on them,” Eller said.

Dre Vance made two free throws to extend the Knight lead to 33-17 early in third quarter. The Knights’ Riley Lindberg and Vavrina traded baskets to make it 33-19. Lindberg made it 35-19 when he sank two free throws after being fouled on a three point attempt.

The Monarchs trailed 44-24 to start the fourth quarter.

Aquinas pressed and it paid off, causing some confusion for the Knights and leading to good Monarch shots.

“Second half once we had a half to play and we got going a little more, and pressed more,” Eller said. “We were able to get the tempo more like we want it and play the pace we like to play.”

Daniel Stara hit a three to make the score 44-27. On the next possession, Vavrina drove into the lane and made it 44-29.

The Monarchs outscored Bergan 17-9 with Vavrina scoring six points to lead the effort. The Monarchs’ rally ran out of time.

“I like how we fought back,” Eller said. “We were down by 20 points and were able to get back within 9 points.”

Tyler Vavrina led the Monarchs with 16 points and Smith added eight points. Smith led the team with three rebounds.

Aquinas was set to play Bishop Neumann (1-3) Tuesday at Aquinas. The two-time defending Class C-1 state champion Cavaliers started the season at 0-3 before defeating Norfolk Catholic 63-38.

December 9 at Aquinas

Aquinas (2-2)7 10 7 17- 41

Archbishop Bergan (4-0)-15 14 15 9- 53

Scoring – Aquinas: Vavrina 16, Smith 8, Stara, Rech 4, Zavodny 3.

Rebounds: Aquinas: Smith 3, Rech, Reiter, Ruth, Stara 2

Assists – Aquinas: Nadrchal, Rech, Reiter , Stara 1

Steals – Aquinas Vavrina, Reiter, Ruth, Rech, Smith 1

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