The North Platte St. Pat's boys' basketball team cut an imposing Gothenburg team down to size on Thursday night in a 58-41 win at the McGahan Activities Center.St. Pat's coach Bill O'Malley said that he stressed to his team not to be intimidated by the Swedes' front line of 6-foot-7 Tanner Borchardt and the 6-5 Logan Koehler.
"We just felt like we needed to try and go at their size because if you play too much finesse, you're gonna get your shot blocked," said O'Malley.
The undersized Irish (4-0) got some momentum by beating the Gothenburg bigs in transition for easy buckets.
St. Pat's went up 12-5 with 2:26 left in the first quarter after Sean Keenan made a pair of three-pointers. Then on the next trip up the floor, 6-1 Alex Harms scored inside against Borchardt for a nine-point lead.
Aaron Collins banked in a 40-foot shot at the end of the first quarter to bring Gothenburg (1-4) to within six. But Joe O'Malley and Joseph Clinch scored the first two baskets of the second to give the Irish a 19-8 lead.
With good movement away from the ball in the half-court, St. Pat's scored at will in the second putting up 23 points and the Irish led 37-22 at halftime.
"I was really pleased with our intensity," O'Malley said. "We weren't always efficient. But we were working hard on offense and we were just focused."
The Swedes began the second half with a 6-0 run and a putback by Borchardt made it 37-28 almost halfway through the third quarter.
Gothenburg had several opportunities to get closer but it couldn't take advantage and at the end of the third, the Irish led 44-30.
In the fourth quarter, St. Pat's was content just to move the ball around the perimeter and working for the best possible shot, a tempo better suited for the Swedes. But with a double-digit lead late, it didn't matter and the Irish still continued to expand the lead up to 20 points on their way to victory.
"We talked hard about not giving up back-to-back baskets in the second half," said O'Malley. "We played more deliberately."
Gothenburg 8 14 8 11 - 41
St. Pat's 14 23 7 14 - 58
Gothenburg (41)-Connor Schwanz 4, Aaron Collins 7, Jake Peterson 2, Logan Sheets 2, Blake Ristine 6, Roy Slack 1, Tanner Borchadt 9, Logan Koehler 10
St. Pat's (58)-Sean Keenan 20, Joe O'Malley 10, Joseph Clinch 12, Alex Harms 4, Mark Mayfield 12
Free Throws: G 5-8, SP 5-6; Three Point Goals: G 2 (Collins, Koehler), SP 5 (Keenan 4, O'Malley)