Flyer boys, girls topple Aquinas
Both Humphrey St. Francis basketball teams have been putting together another historic season, something Flyer fans have become accustomed to recently.
The girls are currently ranked No. 1 in Class D2 by the Lincoln Journal Star after having gone 19-3 thus far.
The Flyers made a run to the championship game a year ago before falling to Falls City Sacred Heart. It was the second runner-up finish for the program in five seasons after also losing the title game in 2014
St. Francis is scoring just over 61 points per game while allowing only 35.
Tuesday night the Flyers took down Class C-1 No. 7 Aquinas.
The St. Francis boys have also put together a successful campaign. The program had been to state three years in a row before that streak came to an end last season.
The Flyer boys are currently ranked 16-4, listed as No. 5 in D-2 by the Journal Star and also coming off a win over Aquinas.
Both teams have one more game left in the regular season before the start of playoffs.
The Aquinas girls had a two-point lead on St. Francis after the first half, but runs of 6-0 to start the third quarter and 8-0 in the fourth propelled the Flyers to a 60-48 victory.
“They came up early and smacked us in that first quarter,” said St. Francis head coach Bryan Reichmuth after the game. “We played a little scared. They’re a bigger school, great team. I think we were a little intimated.
“We got them to settle down in the second quarter, made a little run back and we built our confidence. We played a pretty solid second half.”
Sophomore Allison Weidner scored the opening basket of the second half to tie the game accounting for two of her game-high 27 points.
“It feels amazing,” Weidner said after the game. “I knew it was going to be a good game from the start. We were really focused in practice yesterday. We were feeling really good. We knew it was going to be a good game, and we had to be super focused.”
Tara Foltz connected on baskets in consecutive possessions to give HSF a 34-30 lead.
The two teams then traded shots back-and-forth ultimately leading to the Flyers taking a 42-41 lead headed into the final eight minutes of play.
Foltz then knocked down a 2-point jumper to start a run for St. Francis. Over the next four minutes, Allisa Kosch hit a 3-pointer, Lauren Pfeifer delivered a layup and Weidner knocked down a free throw.
Aquinas attempted to answer with a shot from behind the arc to close the gap to 50-44, but Foltz went 2-of-2 from the line.
Another Aquinas 3-pointer with two minutes left brought the score to 52-48.
Humphrey St. Francis called a timeout and made the necessary adjustments to keep the Monarchs off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
“We talked about being relentless,” Reichmuth said about his message to the team at halftime. “We talked about just playing as hard as we could play. During that run, it was our tempo. We got some fast-break layups during that piece. That’s what made the difference.”
The boys found themselves in a similar situation but clinched a 61-55 victory thanks to a 13-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
“It’s a good win for us,” said head coach Eric Kessler. “Aquinas is a very good team. They’re well coached, they have good athletes, a traditional power. It was a slugfest. It was a great game out there. Two pretty good defensive teams going back and forth. We were lucky to make a few more plays down the stretch to get it done.”
Aquinas was up six three minutes into the second half when both teams started trading buckets for the next few possessions.
Trevor Pfeifer hit a runner four minutes into the third followed by a 3-pointer from Taylor Wemhoff. Wemhoff found the bucket again on the following possession.
“I’m really happy,” Pfeifer said. “I’m so proud of everyone on our team. Aquinas is good every single year. They play so hard. Coach Kessler told us all week they play just like us. They’re a good team and I’m happy to get a win.”
Preifer added another 3-pointer, and Justin Leifeld hit two free throws during the last two minutes to even the score 38-38 entering the fourth quarter.
Evan Foltz was fouled driving the lane and hit 1-of-2 free throws giving the Flyers a lead they held the rest of the way.
Pfeifer hit another 3a minute later and followed it up with a dunk just seconds after to extend the lead to 44-38. Tanner Pfeifer and Wemhoff both knocked down a pair of free throws and Jarrett Weidner added a shot from behind the arc for a 51-38 lead with four minutes left.
“A lot of times when I get my dunks is when they start to lose their energy a little bit,” Trevor Pfeifer said.
Aquinas fought to get back into the game but six more points from Trevor Pfeifer in the final three minutes iced the game for St. Francis.
He scored a team-high 23 points during the game.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com