Crete improved to 18-0 with the win while Wahoo fell to 13-4. However, the Warriors’ losses have come to the top two teams in Class B and the current No. 2 in C1.
Story of the Game
The Cardinals raced out to a 12-4 lead midway through the first quarter before disaster struck as senior Ben Ehlers, a key starter for the Cardinals, went down with a leg injury and was not able to return.
Other Cardinals picked up the slack in Ehlers’s absence, however, and Crete stretched its lead out to 12 before an 8-0 run to end the quarter from Wahoo. The Warriors’ switch to a 1-3-1 zone caused a lot of problems for Crete as the Warrior run continued into the second quarter. They rallied to take the lead a couple of times before Crete settled in for a strong finish to the half, taking a 45-40 lead into halftime.
Crete controlled the action throughout the third quarter, extending its lead to 12 heading into the fourth, but the Warriors didn’t quit.
Wahoo chipped away at the deficit throughout the fourth, trimming it down to two at 73-71 with just under three minutes to play. However, Justus Gardiner, Trace Egge, Aidan McDowell and Reece Vertin all stepped up to make big plays down the stretch to fend off Wahoo’s comeback, despite Glock’s best efforts.
“They went to a box-and-one, diamond-and-one on Aidan and we had to have other guys step up and just be a little bit more aggressive and flash,” Crete coach Tony Siske said. “Trace Egge hit a big shot. Reece got loose when we were trying to get Trace in the corner and they kind of jumped that and we found Reese for a big bucket. Kenner Svitak just made play after play after play all night, a couple offensive rebounds there and a put back and that’s what’s so great about this team is we’ve got so many guys that can make big plays.”
Crete shot 50.8% from the field, 44.4% from 3 (with 12 makes) and 80% from the free-throw line with 19 assists on 29 field goals and just nine turnovers in a brilliant display of offensive basketball. Wahoo shot over 50% as well, but the Cardinals outscored the Warriors by 15 from the 3-point line, too much for them to overcome.
“That’s definitely a blow and we kind of felt like some of the juice left the building there for a little bit because Ben is such an important part of our team and so well liked by the school and the community, but we had other guys step up,” Siske said. “We played some rotations that we don’t normally play. We gotten a little foul trouble. So we just had to scratch and claw and then at the end, just kind of hang on and put some stuff together.”
Aidan McDowell, the senior guard who became Crete’s all-time leading scorer a couple of weeks back, led the way again for the Cardinals with 27 points on 7-of-16 shooting (3-of-8 from 3) and 10-of-12 from the free-throw line plus five rebounds.
Crete is used to getting big games from McDowell, but with Ehlers going down, the key to the victory might have been junior forward Justus Gardiner. He nearly matched McDowell with 25 points, shooting 8-of-13 from the field including 5-of-6 from 3 and 4-of-5 from the line. The 6-foot-6 forward added five boards, three assists and two blocks.
“It was huge,” Siske said of Gardiner’s performance. “He always guards the other team’s best player, a great defensive player. He’s a very unselfish player and he’s capable. For him to step up and depending on how long Ben’s out, we’re going to need more of that from him and he’s more than capable of doing it.”
Kenner Svitak stuffed the stat sheet as well, adding 14 points on 5-of-7 from the field (2-of-3 from 3) and 2-of-3 from the foul line, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Wahoo may have come up short, but Marcus Glock poured everything he had into the game and finished with a career-high 54 points, breaking the old Wahoo single-game scoring record of 52 held by former Husker Jason Glock, who also happens to be Marcus’s dad.
The Division-II Northwest Missouri State commit shot 13-of-25 from the field, 4-of-8 from 3 and 24-of-25 from the line while also dishing out six assists. Glock came out looking to set his teammates up early in the game as he scored just six points while assisting four Warrior buckets in the first period. However, as the game rolled on, he grew more and more aggressive, scoring 11 in the second quarter, all 14 of Wahoo’s points in the third and 23 in the fourth. In total, Glock scored 37 of the team’s 41 after halftime while assisting one of the other two Warrior buckets.
“It was unbelievable, unlike anything I’ve ever been a part of,” Wahoo coach Kevin Scheef said. “He was so good all night long. I’m proud of our kids. Never going to be happy with a loss, but I thought it was an incredible high school game. Crete’s just got a great, great team and I hope Ehlers is OK. I hope that’s not serious. I told the kids we can live with that; I’m proud of them for that.”