KEARNEY — Lincoln Southeast had the right mix of outside shooting and penetration to the basket to make things rough for the Kearney High boys.
Using a height advantage at almost every position, especially when Kearney’s Seth Stroh got into foul trouble, the Knights built and maintained a double-digit lead most of the way to a 79-65 victory Saturday night at KHS.
Stroh was a major player on both ends of the court, finishing with a team-high 17 points and keeping the Knights away from the basket, but when he picked up his third foul just over a minute into the second half, that opened the door for Southeast’s 6-4 guard Ajantae Hogan, who scored 22 points.
“Anytime one of our better players gets in foul trouble it’s tough,” KHS coach Drake Beranek said. “He still played a fairly decent game with limited minutes ... but it was smart on their part to attack him.”
The Bearcats needed the senior leader as they fought an uphill battle from the start. Kearney’s only lead came when Jack Johnson made one of two free throws to put the Bearcats on top 3-2. By halftime, they trailed by 10.
“We didn’t get off to a very good start,” Beranek said. “They looked like a team that hadn’t played since Tuesday and we looked like a team that played last night. They had a lot more energy than we did. They executed stuff better than we did.
“I just thought they got too many paint touches, they were 12 of 16 in the paint in the first half, I think. You mix in a lot of paint touches, easy baskets around the rim and splashing in a few threes like they did ... and we were just playing on our heels the whole game.”
For the Knights Jake Appleget, a 6-4 sophomore, hit four 3-pointers on his way to 14 points. Max Renn, a 6-2 guard, scored 18.
For Kearney, Johnson finished with 13 points, Easton Bruce 12 and Colin Murray 11.
All of Bruce’s points came from beyond the arc. He hit three in the middle of the third quarter that cut Southeast’s lead to four, 48-44. It was still four, 52-48, with two minutes to play in the third quarter, but the Knights went on a 9-0 run to put away the game.
“I was proud of our kids for making a run there in the third quarter. We executed and got some pretty decent looks. ... We have to do a better job of helping our guys out when we battle back like that and make sure we get over the hump,” Beranek said.
Kearney will host Lincoln Northeast on Friday and then travel to Millard West on Saturday.
Lincoln SE 79, Kearney 65
Score by Quarters
Lincoln SE (7-4)18 18 22 21 — 79
Kearney (6-5)12 14 22 17 — 65
LINCOLN SOUTHEAST — Ajantae Hogan 22, Max Renn 18, Jake Appleget 14, Taveon Thompson 12, McGinness Schneider 7, Gage Johnson 4, Shadon Shannon 2.
KEARNEY — Seth Stroh 17, Jack Johnson 13, Easton Bruce 12, Colin Murray 11, Will Vanderbeek 8, Preston Pearson 4.
KHS girls pick up third win
KEARNEY — The Kearney High girls claimed their third victory of the season, beating Lincoln Southeast 43-33 Saturday night at KHS.
Anna Boyd provided the highlight of the night when her overhand throw from beyond half court found the basket as the buzzer sounded at halftime. It was Boyd’s lone basket of the night.
Aspen Rusher led the Bearcats with 14 points.
Kearney held the Knights to 10 points in the first half and led by about 10 points most of the game.
KHS will host Lincoln Northeast on Friday.
Kearney 43, Lincoln Southeast 33
Score by Quarters
Lincoln SE (0-10)3 7 6 17 — 33
Kearney (3-8)8 13 7 15 — 43
LINCOLN SOUTHEAST — Makenzi Toomey 18, Kennedy Kirkendall 8, Lex Benda 2, Tiff Wulf 2, Britt Wulf 2, Isis Williams 1.
KEARNEY — Aspen Rusher 14, Kierstynn Garner 8, Lily Novacek 7, Sydney Province 6, Kari Struebing 5, Anna Boyd 3.