Orioles clinch Class 1-District 14 championship
Some games were easier than others for the Saint Paul Lutheran High School Saints and Concordia High School Orioles boys basketball teams, but the end result was the same: district championships for both squads. The Orioles won top spot in Class 1-District 8, and the Saints dominated throughout the Class 3 District 14 tournament.
Congratulations to both squads!
Class 1 District 8 Quarterfinals — Tuesday, Feb. 19
Green Ridge high School
(8) Kingsville 33
(1) Concordia 72
Heading into their first round matchup, the Kingsville High School Tigers had to know there was a good chance they wouldn’t be hanging around for very long against a stout Concordia High School program. If this was indeed their prediction, they would have been extremely correct, as the Orioles absolutely cruised to their 72-33 victory.
If the Orioles never shot the ball again after the halftime intermission, they would STILL have pulled off a double-digit victory, as the O’s followed up a 21-11 first quarter with a 24-8 second quarter victory, moving the score to 45-19 before heading to the second half.
The victory not only got the Orioles feeling good heading into their semifinal matchup, but also got 10 players into the scoring column.
Senior Tad Deatherage scored 11 points in the second quarter en route to a team-high 21 points. Seniors Cameron Kelly and Matthew Gatewood followed Deatherage up with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Another impressive statistic to point out is that the Orioles accrued only 10 fouls in the entire matchup. They didn’t need much pressure on defense, but they also didn’t commit dumb fouls and give their opponent a chance to sneak back into the mix.
The victorious Orioles moved to 16-8 (6-1) and a semifinal matchup with host-team Green Ridge High School.
Kingsville fell to 2-18 with the season-concluding loss.
Class 1 District 8 Semifinals — Thursday, Feb. 21
Green Ridge High School
(4) Green Ridge 58
(1) Concordia 65
A solid lead was nearly erased in the second half, but the Concordia Orioles found a way to get their shots to sink when they needed to, advancing past a Green Ridge High School program playing on its home court, 65-58.
A back-and-forth first quarter saw the senior Orioles set the tone for their teammates, as Tad Deatherage (six points), Matthew Gatewood (three points), Cameron Kelly (three points), and Lane Mueller (two points) helped the Orioles move to an early 14-12 margin.
The lead would expand a bit in the second quarter, as Deatherage added two more three-point field goals to the two he collected in the first quarter in leading the Orioles to the 17-10 second quarter advantage and a 31-22 halftime lead.
The lead dwindled, however. A big offensive quarter for the Tigers found them wittle the lead down to just three points, 44-41, heading into the final frame.
Fortunately for Orioles faithful, the same four seniors who kicked off the scoring brought it full-circle, collecting all 21 points in the quarter (Gatewood — 11 points; Kelly and Mueller — four points each; Deatherage — two points) and securing the victory, 65-58.
Deatherage again led his squad in points, finishing with 22 points. Gatewood followed him up with 18 points, while Mueller finished with 13. Kelly ended with 10 points, two of which came on an emphatic dunk to effectively put the game to bed.
In spite of the previous two season’s district results — losses to host schools (Lone Jack HS in 2017, Wellington-Napoleon in 2018) — the Orioles got over the hump and secured their spot in the district championship matchup.
Concordia advances to 17-8 (6-1) with the victory.
Green Ridge’s season ended at 12-14.
Class 1 District 8 Championship — Saturday, Feb. 23
Green Ridge High School
(2) Leeton 12
(1) Concordia 45
What a time to hit your stride!
With just one game standing between the Concordia Orioles and an appearance in the state tournament, it took nearly no time to truly determine the Class 1 District 8 champion, as an absolutely suffocating defensive performance led the Orioles to the district championship victory, 45-12.
In one of the strongest defensive appearances in school history, the Orioles went to halftime ahead 20-0. While there is a small chance that this was the result of a bold offensive strategy where the Bulldogs decided not to score any points and instead just get into a huge hole heading into halftime, odds are higher that head coach Brent Cooper and his O’s put it all together against a team that, quite frankly, couldn’t stack up to Concordia’s sheer talent.
The Bulldogs would eventually put up six points each in the third and fourth quarters, but that would only get them about one-fourth of the way to they wanted to go, as the Orioles would easily hang on to their large lead, winning 45-12.
Three Orioles went into double-digit scoring: Seniors Tad Deatherage (14 points), Cameron Kelly (12 points), and Matthew Gatewood (10 points). Deatherage led all scorers again with 14 points and smacked net four times from outside of the three-point arc.
The dominant victory sets the Orioles up for an appearance in the state tournament, and moves the Class 1 District 8 champions’ record to 18-8 (6-1) with the win.
Leeton fell below .500 with the season-ending loss, falling to 11-12 in defeat.