Shorthanded Immaculata begins 2013 with loss, as does Leavenworth and Pleasant Ridge

Usually the holiday break allows a team to get rested and healthy.
Unfortunately for Immaculata boys basketball, this year was the opposite.
Opening up its 2013 schedule by hosting Riverside, the Raiders had to play without two starters due to illness and injury Friday. The losses were significant and the visiting Cyclones took advantage, beating Imac 52-34.
“We were missing two starters tonight and that hurt us quite bit depth-wise,” Imac coach Mike Connelly said. “Since we were missing our leading scorer, we had to have people step up and score who usually don’t fill that role and that’s not always easy.”
Even shorthanded, the Raiders still fought competitively, especially in the first half.
After trailing by six after one quarter, Imac matched Riverside in the second.
However, the third quarter saw the Cyclones pull away with a 13-5 run and then the visitors cruised in the fourth to the 18-point win.
“Even with the loss, the guys still played hard, gained some experience and represented the name on their chest with pride,” Connelly said. “That’s all I can ask for.”
Immaculata’s Connor Schmidling finished with 13 points, Drew Sachen contributed nine and Josh Boeppler contributed six.
The Raiders, 1-4, will travel to Maranatha Monday for a makeup game from December. The contest starts at 8 p.m. game.

Pioneers suffer big road loss
Friday’s game was not how the Leavenworth boys’ basketball team wanted to start the new year.
Playing on the road at Shawnee Mission East, the Pioneers struggled at both ends of the floor in a lopsided 69-53 road loss.
“They whipped us in every phase of the game,” Leavenworth coach Larry Hogan said. “We hung with them for a while, but then they just ran away from us.”
After sticking close to its hosts in the first quarter, down just 19-16, the Pioneers could not keep up with the powerful Lancers the remaining three. East outscored LHS 23-11 in the second and then 17-12 in the third to blow the game wide open.
“They go six-foot-seven, six-foot-seven, six-foot-six across the front line and then have a guard already committed to a Division I school so they are talented,” Hogan said. “They also have seven varsity returners and so they all know how to play together.”
Grant Lang and Michael Thomas led the team in scoring with nine points a piece and Cameron Wiggins added eight.
Leavenworth, 3-1, has a chance at redemption when they travel to Nebraska tonight for a 5 p.m. contest at Lincoln North Star.
“We have to be a lot tougher in the lane physically,” Hogan said. “We kind got beat up there tonight. Michael Thomas played his first varsity minutes tonight and did well, but we all have to play better if we want to get a win tomorrow.”

Jackson Heights runs past Rams
The same struggles from 2012 continued to plague the Pleasant Ridge boys’ basketball team in 2013.
Turnovers and youthful mistakes led the Rams to its fourth loss of the season when Jackson Heights thumped PR 72-37 on Friday.
“We are just trying to keep working and improving in all areas,” PR coach Sean Murphy said. “But there are no shortcuts and we must build on the positives. They are teenagers and they’re doing the best they can.”
The game against Heights got out of the Rams’ control early. After one quarter of play, the score sat at 24-8 Jackson Heights. The discrepancy grew to 44-21 at halftime and then 61-31 after the third quarter.
Pleasant Ridge, 1-4, will host McLouth at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“We’re still young and growing, though at a glacial pace,” Murphy said. “We’re going to have to put some more fight into our efforts for a full 32 minutes if we want to get to give ourselves a chance.”