Cold shooting doomed the Aquinas boys basketball team against Kearney Catholic in the opener of the Centennial Conference basketball tournament Jan.23 at Aquinas. The Monarchs made three baskets inside the arc in a 41-39 defeat.

“I think a lot of our offensive problems are what we didn’t do,” Aquinas coach Kyle Eller said. “We shot horribly, only 18 percent from two-point range.”

Aquinas took control early with shots behind the arch. Zach Zavodny hit a three-pointer and Tyler Vavrina hit two free-throws to put the Monarchs up 5-0.

On the next possession, Vavrina hit a three in transition to stretch Aquinas’s lead to 8-0.

Kearney Catholic fought back with a foul and layup by Kegan Bosshamer. After the made free-throw the Stars trailed 8-3. Caleb Hoyt added a layup at the end of the first quarter to cut the Monarchs lead to 8-5.

The Stars picked up where they left off with a rebound and layup by Marcus Benesch. Zach Zavodny’s three-pointer stopped Kearney Catholic’s run and put Aquinas ahead 10-7.

Bosshamer’s rebound and layup cut the advantage to 10-9. The Stars took their first lead at 12-10 on a three-pointer by Logan O’Brien.

Braden Smith and Jack Jakub hit three-pointers to put the Monarchs back out in front 13-12. Aquinas ended the second quarter on a 7-3 run. Heading into halftime the Monarchs led 20-15.

Benesch scored the first points of the second half to trim Aquinas’ lead to one possession at 20-17. The Stars' O’Brien hit a jumper from the free-throw line to make it 23-21.

Kearney Catholic used strong inside play, to take a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Joshua Long made a three to put the Stars ahead 31-27. The senior scored 7 of his 8 points in the final quarter.

Kearney Catholic got layups on back-to-back possessions by Benesch and Brandt Groskreutz to go up 34-28. Long’s baseline jumper gave the Stars their biggest lead at 36-28.

Aquinas rallied late with an 11-5 run to make it 41-39. With five seconds left the Monarchs had one more chance. Vavrina’s driving layup was off the mark.

Aquinas was led by Vavrina had a with a game-high 16 points, followed by Zavodny with 7 points.

Kearney Catholic’s Benesch had 14 points and Long added 8 points.

January 22 at Aquinas

Aquinas (11-5)- 8 12 8 11-39

Kearney Catholic (3-14)- 5 10 12 14-41

PointsScoring-Aquinas: Vavrina 16, Zavodny 7, Jakub 6, Rech 4 ,Smith 4, Ruth 2.

Kearney Catholic: Benesch 14, Long 8, O’Brien 7, Bosshamer 5, Groskreutz 3, Thiele 2, Hoyt 2.

Rebounds-Aquinas: Stara 5, Vavrina 5, Reiter 3, Ruth 1 ,Rech 1, Zavodny 1.

Kearney Catholic: Benesch 12, Bosshamer 7, O’Brien 6, Groskreutz 5, Thiele 4.

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