Strong second quarter helps Veritas boys roll in season finale
If the second quarter was any indication, the Veritas boys basketball team could be earning some more hardware this weekend.
In the final game of the regular season, Veritas rolled past St. Mary’s Academy for a 62-38 win Monday night at Haskell University. The Eagles, who scored 24 points in the second quarter to pull away from the opposition, will look to earn their third consecutive state title this weekend at the KCAA state tournament at Manhattan Christian College.
“St. Mary’s has been a rival for six years, and we have had a lot of one-possession games,” Veritas coach Carl Huslig said. “It was nice to see our kids take care of business. The second quarter, when we put our starters in, that was some good basketball.”
To honor his six-person senior class, Huslig used a senior-only starting lineup of Trey Huslig, Jackson Rau, Micah Denham, Scott Weinhold and Tucker Flory at the beginning of the game. Senior Aaron Evans was the first sub to enter the contest for the Eagles.
Veritas (20-10) only trailed for 14 seconds, jumping out to a 13-7 advantage in the opening period during the second meeting between these two teams. The Eagles recorded a 70-44 victory over the Crusaders in the first meeting on Dec. 10.
But the hosts broke the game open in the second quarter, giving fans a taste of what could come in the postseason. Flory scored the first two buckets, the second of which came via a beautiful assist by Rau. After a pair of baskets by the visitors, Veritas took control of the contest with a 19-2 run over the last 5:20 of the first half.
“I like to see us get up and down the court, and I like to see us share it,” Carl Huslig said. “I like to see our shooters shoot the ball. This team is fun, and they have been together for awhile. They are a special group.”
During the stretch, the Eagles were playing total-team basketball on the offensive end. They demonstrated great ball movement, and got several players involved. Scores were made by six different players, including a triple by junior Will Eagleman and a basket by sophomore Will Rau.
Veritas also created plenty of pressure defensively, as St. Mary’s Academy made just three shots the entire second quarter and coughed up several turnovers. At one point, Trey Huslig ripped the ball away from a driving guard and immediately pushed the ball in transition.
He then threaded a perfect pass to Flory, who passed up a good look to get an even better shot. Flory found a cutting Jackson Rau, who finished off the sequence with an easy layup to close out a dominating stretch by the Eagles.
“I don’t think that is the best we can play, but it is definitely on the right track,” Trey Huslig said.
Veritas stretched its lead out to 30 points by the third quarter, as Trey Huslig drained three triples. Sophomore Brennan Clements also buried a 3-pointer, while Flory netted a few more interior buckets.
Trey Huslig and Flory each scored 19 points to lead the Eagles on the offensive end. Trey Huslig went 7-for-15 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from deep. Flory finished 9-for-12 from the field in 23 minutes.
Veritas wrapped up the regular season with a four-game win streak, going 6-2 in February.
“It is always nice to win the last game. We have momentum going into state, so that is good,” senior Jackson Rau said. “We have been building it the last couple of weeks. It is huge, because you want to be playing your best basketball at the end of the year, and I feel like we are doing that.”
Veritas will face the winner of Manhattan CHIEF and St. John’s Military at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
ST. MARY’S (38)
Michael Moats 0-0 0-0 0, Dominic Riello 0-4 0-3 0, Matt Bomberger 0-1 0-0 0, Dan Whitehead 2-11 1-2 6, Josef Belderock 6-19 1-6 14, Patrick Harpe 5-14 0-2 13, Andrew Dorobek 0-2 0-0 0, John Treacy 2-3 0-0 5, Anthony Riccommini 0-1 0-2 0. Totals: 15-54 2-15 38.
Aaron Evans 1-3 0-0 3, Trey Huslig 7-15 2-4 19, Jackson Rau 3-5 0-0 6, Will Rau 2-6 0-2 4, Will Bartkoski 0-5 0-0 0, Will Eagleman 1-1 0-0 3, Micah Denham 0-0 0-0 0, Scott Weinhold 1-5 3-4 5, Ethan Bernet 0-1 0-0 0, Tucker Flory 9-12 1-2 10, Brennan Clements 1-1 0-0 3, Josh Monarez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-54 6-12 62.
St. Mary’s 7 7 14 10 — 38
Veritas 13 24 21 4 — 62
Three-point goals: St. Mary’s 6-16 (Whitehead, Belderock, Harpe 3, Treacy); Veritas 6-17 (Huslig 3, Evans, Eagleman, Clements). Turnovers: St. Mary’s 23, Veritas 23. Fouled out: None.