The Lincoln Pius X boys basketball team (13-7) had a sizzling start but had to hold off a fourth-quarter rally in a 54-51 victory Saturday over Hastings High (7-14).
The Thuderbolts hit seven of their first eight shots, and finished 9-of-12 from the field in the first quarter. To the contrary, the Tigers missed numerous shots in the paint and found themselves down 17-8 after the first period.
Pius X hit four of its first five shots to begin the second quarter to lead 28-10 with under four minutes remaining in the first half. Senior Brandon Utrup had 15 first-half points to lead the Thunderbolt offense that used its size and speed at the guard position to penetrate the lane to find easy baskets under the hoop.
The Tigers, though, climbed within 10 points of the lead to finish the first half. Addison Belau made a shot in the paint, Tanner Johnson converted an and-one, and the Tigers’ defense forced a Pius X turnover that lead to a Ryan Kern layup.
With 37 seconds remaining, Alex Panganiban hit a jumper and Hastings High overcame the hot Thunderbolt’s shooting to trail 29-19 at halftime.
“I really was pleased to be down only by 10,” Hastings High head coach Lance Creech said. “It could’ve been a lot worse. Thank goodness. We both had opportunities at the rim and we did just enough to stay within striking distance.”