Reifenrath leads Bears to championship
WAYNE — Izac Reifenrath poured in nine of his game-high 29 points in a three-minute span of the fourth quarter to lead Laurel-Concord/Coleridge to a 67-62 win Monday over Wayne.
The win came in the finals of the “Blue” division of the abbreviated Great Northeast Nebraska Shootout here at Rice Auditorium on the Wayne State campus.
With his team trailing 51-50 with just under five minutes left in the game after the Blue Devils had just scored back-to-back buckets from Kallan Herman and Tyrus Eischeid, Reifenrath hit from downtown on a three to make it 53-51 with 4:20 to go.
Wayne’s Trevor DeBoer answered with a pair of free throws, but Reifenrath responded with a deep three from the corner to make it 56-53.
“I was really feeling it,” Reifenrath said. “I just told my teammates to get me the ball and they did — it was a great feeling.”
The Blue Devils got back to within a single point when Herman hit DeBoer inside with just over three minutes left in the game. But Laurel Concord/Coleridge’s Noah Schutte scored inside with his left hand and then stole the ball on the inbounds pass.
Schutte hit Reifenrath behind the arc and the Bears would never trail again.
“We got back to playing our game in the second half,” LCC coach Todd Erwin said. “We went back to playing some zone defense and quit playing to their strengths.”
Wayne led 14-13 after the first quarter and 32-30 at the intermission.
“We played really well at times,” Wayne coach Rob Sweetland said. “We thought if we could keep them under 60 points we’d be all right — we didn’t quite get there.”
The Blue Devils got into some foul trouble in the first half that took away one advantage Sweetland said he thought they had coming into the game.
“We thought we had more depth and we planned on using that to our advantage,” Sweetland said. “But we had some foul trouble and had to play some of our bench earlier and more often than we had planned.”
Although the Bears went up 61-55, Wayne kept pressure on LCC with an offensive rebound and put back from Eischeid to make it 61-57 with 2:14 left.
Reifenrath converted one of two charity tosses to make it 62-57, and then swished a pair to make it 64-57.
The Blue Devils responded with another put back from Eischeid and got within three with 2.8 seconds left with a three from Herman.
Schutte was fouled and finished the game with two free throws for the 67-62 final.
“This was a big step for us,” Erwin said. “We are getting into the meat of our schedule where we are playing good teams like Wayne, Ponca, Cedar Catholic. We need to step up our game. I think we did that here tonight.”
Wayne 14 18 11 19 — 62
LCC 13 17 16 21 — 67
WAYNE : Tyrus Eischeid 23; Sheer Sweetland 10; Kallan Herman 8; Marcus Ferrite 8; Trevor DeBoer 7.
LAUREL-CONCORD/COLERIDGE: Izac Reifenrath 29; Noah Schutte 21; Cael Hartung 8; Ty Erwin 7; Evan Haisch 2.