Roncalli teammates Trevor Lauck (55), Luke Kegerreis (11) and Shaun Byrne surround Decatur Central’s Anthony Ball during Tuesday’s Sectional 11 opener at Perry Meridian.
By Steve Page
Roncalli had a shot – two, to be exact – at Decatur Central in Tuesday’s Sectional 11 opener at Perry Meridian.
After trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half and eight in the final quarter, the Royals rallied to within three points late in the game.
In the frenetic final seconds, senior Nolan Tunny fired shots from opposite corners, but on both occasions, the ball bounced off the rim, and the Hawks escaped with a 55-52 victory.
“We have great athletes who are playing basketball,” said first-year coach Jamin Wernke after Roncalli’s season ended at 9-14. “They have competitive spirit and togetherness. The guys we have came to play. We had shots at the end with our best shooter. That’s kind of our go-to. Having that chance, I can’t be disappointed.”
Starting center Trevor Lauck used his Division I football lineman size to work the paint for 14 points. Tunny, who hit two 3-pointers, finished with 12. Fellow senior Luke Kegerreis came back from a nagging ankle injury to score 12, also including two 3’s.
It was the final basketball game for seniors Kegerreis, Tunny, Lauck, Luke Skartvedt and Shaun Byrne.
Skartvedt scored six points and Byrne and sophomore Noah Schmaltz added four each.
“All of our seniors are other-sports guys,” noted Wernke. “Four have scholarships at the next level. This is just hard on everybody.”
The Royals made it hard on the Hawks by rallying from that early 10-point deficit to actually take a 32-31 lead shortly before the half.
Anthony Ball, who led the Hawks with 18 first-half points, hit a late jumper to put DC up 33-32 at intermission. The Royals limited Ball to four points in the second half, and once again, came charging back as they repeatedly found Lauck under the basket.
“Survive and advance. That’s it,” DC coach Bryan Surber said. “We got lucky he missed that last one.”