Just after senior post player Chris Hartford hit a tough layup for St. Cecilia to cut the team’s deficit to Grand Island Northwest to 45-36 midway through the fourth quarter, STC head coach Kevin Asher called a timeout and had an important message for his team.
“We’ve been talking to our kids about playing a full game. I think the schedule that we are playing, it seems like the teams that are really talented take over the last six minutes of a game,” he said. “We were down 13 or 15, somewhere in that range, and hit a shot to get it back to 10.
“I called a timeout and said that we’re going to have to decide. We’ve been playing teams to seven or eight points — Class B competition or whoever — but we’ve let them finish things off.”
Feeling inspired, the Bluehawks went back out on to the floor and finished off a 6-0 run with back-to-back buckets from senior Jameson Esch to cut the Northwest lead to 45-38, and STC was at that moment that Asher just talked to them about.
But St. Cecilia, which headed into the game with three straight losses, couldn’t avoid dropping its fourth in a row. Class B No. 7 Northwest improved to 11-1 by hanging on for a 51-43 decision over the Bluehawks, who fell to 3-7 — with all seven losses coming to teams with .500 or better records and six of the losses coming by 11 or fewer points.