Luther Prep’s boys basketball team sped up the pace in the season opener.
The Phoenix scored 10 transition points in the latter stages of the first half to build a double-digit advantage in the team’s 48-31 nonconference victory over Cambridge at LPS on Tuesday.
“I was happy in the fact that we talked about rebounding wise, they had to be one and done,” Luther Prep boys basketball coach Nate Kieselhorst said. “We got the ball off the glass and could do something in transition. When we were pushing the ball up the floor, we had some success with that. We got a little erratic there for a while. It helped us space and get some separation.”
Luther Prep sophomore guard Tom Balge and senior guard Caleb Heckendorf each scored a team-high nine points. Senior guard Nathan de Galley added eight.
“Caleb hit those first two 3s and Silas (Steinbrenner) hit a 3 from the corner and that opened space for Paul (Frick) to do more maneuvering and getting into the paint,” Kieselhorst said. “That’s always what we are looking for. He and Nate did a good job getting to the glass. Guys were very focused on doing what their part was.”
Steinbrenner’s 3-pointer gave the Phoenix a 13-11 lead and started an 18-4 run to close the first half. Senior guard Paul Frick, de Galley and Balge all scored transition buckets at the rum during the stretch. Junior guard Atticus Lawrenz hit a 3-pointer from just outside the top of the key and Frick finished strong at the rack through Cambridge’s Fritz Kaiser in the waning seconds, pushing the lead to 28-15.
Cambridge used a 7-0 run, capped by a 3 from sophomore guard Jace Horton, to cut the lead to nine points with 7 minutes, 40 seconds remaining.
The Phoenix scored the game’s next four points on layups by senior forward Cole Burrow and Balge that increased the lead to 13, never looking back.
“All the guys stepped up. There were some guys who wouldn’t have seen much time and came in, contributed in positive ways considering we only had nine guys playing,” Kieselhorst said of his team that was missing four players, including two would-be starters, from its roster due to season-ending suspensions. “They did a good job for the first game. I was happy with how we were being active and that the tenacity was there.
“I was very happy with the defense. We wanted to be very active. We made a few adjustments at halftime on a few things but overall very pleased with what they did on defense.”
Frick scored six points and Steinbrenner, a senior guard, finished with five. Lawrenz also tallied five points.
Junior guard Jack Nikolay led all scorers with 10 points for Cambridge. Kaiser chipped in six points and Andrew Downing, a senior forward, scored four.
Luther Prep plays a nonconference home game against Randolph on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m.
LUTHER PREP 48,
Cambridge 15 16 — 31
Luther Prep 28 20 — 48
Cambridge (fg-ftm-tp) — Nikolay 4-2-10, Kaiser 1-3-6, Downing 1-2-4, Jeffery 1-0-3, Colts 0-1-1, Kozler 0-1-1, Marty 1-0-2, Horton 1-0-2, Frey 1-0-2. Totals 10 9-12 31.
Luther Prep (fg-ftm-tp) — Burow 2-0-4, de Galley 4-0-8, Heckendorf 3-0-9, Frick 3-0-6, Steinbrenner 2-0-5, Lawrenz 2-0-5, Balge 4-0-9, Baumann 1-0-2. Totals 21 0-3 48.
3-point goals — C, Kaiser 1, Jeffrey 1; LP, Heckendorf 3, Steinbrenner 1, Lawrenz 1, Balge 1.
Total fouls — C 8, LP 12.