The second half of Friday’s MVC boys basketball opener at the Reinhart Athletic Complex started eerily similar to the Aquinas High School basketball team’s previous three games.
A 19-point halftime lead was slipping away from the Blugolds, and a jump shot by Logan’s Preston House cut his team’s deficit to 12 and gave it momentum midway through the third quarter.
But Aquinas reacted with urgency and responded with a run of its own and nailed down a 61-48 victory over the Rangers on Friday.
“Basketball is a game of runs,” said Aquinas senior Bronson Koenig, who scored eight points in that third-quarter run and 20 in the game. “They’ll make runs, and we’ll make runs. We just have to limit their runs.”
The Blugolds (3-1, 1-0 MVC) didn’t allow the lead to get any closer than 12 the rest of the way, matching Logan (1-2, 0-1 MVC) blow for blow down the stretch.
“We had a way better week of practice,” Aquinas coach Rick Schneider said. “The intensity was better. We were definitely on the attack. It was really important for us to try and get off to a good start and play with high energy.”
Aquinas scored the first seven points and took a 14-2 lead when Koenig found an open Nolan Ritter for the first of his five 3-pointers and three of his 19 points.
“That was pretty big,” said Aquinas junior Parker Weber, who finished with a team-high 10 rebounds. “We just pushed the ball up the floor and we got on a run.”
Weber didn’t contribute much offensively, scoring a season-low two points, but Koenig and Ritter combined for 39 points to carry the load.
“Bronson is just one of those guys you just try to make everything difficult for him,” said first-year Logan coach Andy Fernholz, who graduated from Aquinas in 2001 and served as an assistant under Schneider for six seasons. “You know he’s going to get his points, you know he’s going to do some incredible things out there.
“He’s fun to watch. He’s not easy to game plan against, but you just try to do anything you can to make it difficult for him.”
Koenig, making his first start of the season, also had seven assists and three boards.
House led the Rangers with 19 points, while Jonah Waite finished with 12 points and a team-high five rebounds.