The Aquinas and Howells-Dodge boys basketball teams played a defensive battle Dec. 5 at Aquinas. The Monarchs edged the Jaguars 42-41 in overtime.
Aquinas led until the final moments of the game before the Jaguars rallied to force overtime. The Monarchs overcame a 4-point deficit with under a minute left to get the win.
"We were in positions like that a lot last year, and it ended up defining our season," Aquinas basketball coach Kyle Eller said. "It was nice to be able to come out of there with a win."
The Monarchs jumped ahead early when Tyler Vavrina scored on a layup, was fouled and sank the free throw. On the next possession, Daniel Reiter's steal and layup put the Monarchs up 5-0.
Aquinas started out on a 9-2 run. The Jaguars fought back with two 3-pointers from Caden Jackson to make it 14-8. At the end of the first quarter, Aquinas led 15-12.
Howells-Dodge got a lift from Jackson with a 3-pointer in the second quarter to tie the game at 17 all.
Aquinas got the lead but couldn’t expand it until Matt Nadrchal connected on a 3-pointer with five seconds left. Howells-Dodge immediately called a timeout but a technical foul on the Jaguars bench put Vavrina on the foul line. He sank the shot to give Aquinas a 26-19 halftime lead.
Howells-Dodge tightened the game in the third quarter thanks to 3-pointers by Jackson and Connor Blum.
The Jaguars defense held Aquinas to five points in the fourth quarter and went ahead 34-33 with six minutes left. The score was 37-all as Vavrina got a last shot, but his jumper was off the mark.
In overtime, Howells-Dodge’s Lane Hegemann scored on a layup to put the Jaguars up 39-37 with 2:40 on the clock. The Jaguar lead looked safe after Hegemann sank two free throws with 1:05 left to make it 41-37.
Aquinas pressed the Jaguars to get the ball back. With under 40 seconds left, Zach Zavodny’s 3-point shot bounced off. Braden Smith got the rebound and scored on a layup as he was fouled. Smith made the free throw to make it 41-40 with 33 seconds left.
Aquinas trapped the Jaguars’ Matt Cada on the inbounds pass, and the Jaguars turned over the ball inside of 20 seconds. The Monarchs put the ball in the hands of guard Tyler Vavrina on the last possession. The senior drove for a layup with five seconds left. Jaguars’ Connor Blum launched a contested three-point attempt with one second left, but the shot was off the mark.
Kyle Ruth led the Monarch offense with 13 points, and Vavrina added 11. Braden Smith pulled in 7 rebounds.
December 5 at Aquinas
Aquinas- 15, 11, 6, 5, 5- 42
Howells-Dodge-12,7, 10, 8, 4- 41
Scoring- Aquinas: Ruth 13, Vavrina 11, Zavodny 6, Nadrchal, Smith, Stara, Reiter 3.
HD: Blum 15, L. Hegemann 12, Jackson 8, K. Hegemann.
Rebounds- Aquinas:Smith 7, Stara 6, Ruth 5, Rech 4, Reiter 3
HD: L. Hegemann- 10, Brester- 6, Blum 4, Vanlengen, K. Hegemann 4
Assists- Aquinas: Vavrina 3
HD: Blum 6, Brester 5, Jackson, L. Hegemann 1