Orioles reach district finals, fall short
The Concordia High School boys basketball team was able to advance through the first two rounds of the Class 2 District 15 tournament without breaking much of a sweat, knocking off Northland Christian High School on Wednesday, Feb. 21, before advancing past North Platte High School on Friday, Feb. 23. However, the two-seeded Orioles couldn’t complete the sweep, falling to Wellington-Napoleon High School in the district championship on Saturday, Feb. 24.
The first round matchup was as easy as any Concordia has had this season, as they coasted to a 58-26 beat-down against Northland Christian, behind 22 points from junior Matthew Gatewood and 13 more from junior Tad Deatherage.
Their second round matchup was against a more competitive opponent, but the Orioles didn’t have much trouble taking down North Platte either, winning 60-48. The majority of the offense again came from Deatherage (20 points) and Gatewood (16). The Orioles defense was again solid in the matchup, but more so in the first half, as the O’s limited North Platte to 10 first-quarter points and just two in the second quarter. They also didn’t allow a single player to score in double-digits.
Unfortunately, the Orioles weren’t able to take down host-team (and top-seeded) Wellington-Napoleon, falling 66-43 behind big performances from junior Trey Shannon (28 points) and senior Jordon Hill (20). Junior Cameron Kelly led the Orioles with 14 points, but that wasn’t enough to overcome off-nights from Gatewood (eight points) and Deatherage (held scoreless). Concordia senior Cameron Cooper joined junior Lane Mueller in scoring seven points in the contest.
For Concordia, their season ended with a respectable 17-11 (5-2 in conference) record. Two of the Orioles losses on the season — this one, and one on Jan. 15 — came against Wellington-Napoleon in games classified as “neutral-site” contests, although the game took place at Wellington-Napoleon High School. The Orioles won the sole non-neutral-site matchup against the Tigers, an 84-77 victory at CHS.