Janesville team drops two at national tournament

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Gazette staff
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
— The St. Paul’s Lutheran seventh- and eighth-grade boys basketball team of Janesville lost twice at the Lutheran National Basketball Tournament last weekend in Valparaiso, Ind.

The Flames bowed, 44-34, to Faith Lutheran of Las Vegas, Nev., in the championship bracket opener and lost a heartbreaker, 44-43, to Zion Lutheran of Mayer, Minn., in the consolation bracket.

“Las Vegas’ game plan was to go out and beat the snot out of us,” Flames’ coach Scott Gestrich said. “They threw a bunch of defenses at us and tried to beat us up.’’

Despite the heavy-handed tactics, St. Paul’s stood toe-to-toe with Vegas until the fourth quarter.

“We were kind of shell shocked,” Gestrich said. “But we played them within four points.’’

Las Vegas sank a pair of three-point baskets down the stretch to pull away from St. Paul’s for the victory.

In the consolation game against Zion, the lead went back and forth the whole way.

St. Paul’s cut a 44-40 lead to the final outcome on a three-point basket with less than 30 seconds remaining. The Flames got the ball back with four seconds left, but their attempt to win the game fell short.

Zach Gestrich scored 21 and 24 points to pace St. Paul’s.

Scott Gestrich said St. Paul’s would apply for a berth in the national tournament again.

“We have to apply for the Lutheran state tournament, and we’ll send an application to the national tournament, too,’’ Gestrich said. “We made a good showing (this year) and five of the nine players on our team are seventh graders.

St. Paul’s team included eight-graders Zach Gestrich, Trajan Perleberg, Sawyer Hrycay and William Drake, and seventh-graders Cole Gillitzer, Caleb White, Isaac Phillips, Noah Phillips and Jacob Gestrich. Scott White was the assistant coach.

Last updated: 8:13 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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