Thunderbirds too much for Cathedral

NEW ULM – Comebacks by teams are usually a double-edged sword.

Comebacks can be confidence-builders for a team, but can also mean a team has expended a lot of energy.

Friday night, New Ulm Cathedral staged two comebacks, first cutting a 19-9 first-half lead by Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop with 3:25 left in the first half. The Greyhounds followed that by slicing a 57-46 GFW lead to 57-54 with three minutes remaining in the contest.

But in the end, the Thunderbirds were able to survive with a 70-59 win against Cathedral in a Tomahawk Conference boy’s basketball game.

Brett VanMaasdam led the Thunderbirds (9-6, 8-2 Tomahawk) with 21 points, Lee Sullivan added 19 and Seth Schuette had 11.

Collin Helget led the Greyhounds (5-11, 4-6) with a game-high 22 points, Jacob Gangelhoff netted 17 and Jack Schwartz had 11.

“I like what we are doing offensively,” said GFW coach Richard Busse. “Our ball movement was not as crisp as it had been and I expected out defensive effort to be better.”

Cathedral coach Alan Woitas said that his kids played hard the entire game.

“We got down big early,” Woitas said. “We had some turnovers that led to some easy baskets for them, but we really responded and kept battling back the whole game.”

GFW, which had beaten Cathedral 68-29 earlier in the season, looked like it was going to repeat that feat when it took a commanding 19-9 lead – converting 10 turnovers into eight points.

Sullivan was the big recipient of the miscues, scoring eight of his points off the turnovers.

But Cathedral used a 13-6 spurt to slice the lead to 25-22 on two Gangelhoff baskets and a hoop from Helget off of a GFW turnover with 3:35 left in the first half.

“It is just a matter of sustaining what we do,” Busse said. “We opened the game moving the ball pretty well. Then we stood around quite a bit, did not screen and the ball did not move with us. You are easy to defend when you do those things.”

Leading by five at halftime, the Thunderbirds saw that lead shrink to 41-38 on a 3-pointer by Schwartz with 11:30 left in the game.

However, GFW responded with a 16-8 run to mount a 57-46 lead before Cathedral staged its second comeback. A 3 from Michael Skillings sparked an 8-0 run that pulled the Greyhounds to within 57-54 with 3:40 left in the game.

“Tonight we played a very good GFW team,” Woitas said. “We had some miscues early that we need to fix so we do not have to expend all of that energy coming back. We could have easily rolled over in that first half but we didn’t.”

GFW then closed out the game on a 9-0 run to take a 66-54 lead with one minute left.

“Cathedral played a good game,” Busse said. “Alan is doing a great job with those boys.”

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