Even after all these years, the thrill of a big victory isn’t lost on Adolph Kochendorfer.
The St. Edmond boys gave Kochendorfer just that feeling again here Tuesday night, scoring a 60-53 overtime victory vs. Clarion-Goldfield/Dows inside the SEHS gym.
Sam Mericle scored a game-high 24 points, including eight in the extra session, while Jackson Palmer added 22 for the Gaels, who have won two straight.
“It really does feel great, but it feels great for these kids,” Kochendorfer said. “Us coaches, we see how hard they are working and how much they are improving in practice. But when it doesn’t result in wins, that can be tough on you mentally.
“To come out and get one like this, that’s just a really big building block that we can use moving forward.”
For the Cowboys, Nevan Foss had 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Carson Nesheim added seven with seven rebounds and Coy Hanson had eight.
“Nesheim really hurt us in the first meeting (a 58-40 C-G/D win in Clarion), but I thought Sam did a great job defending him (Tuesday),” Kochendorfer said. “We aren’t the biggest team by any stretch of the imagination, but the kids fight and work hard.
“Jackson and Sam did a great job on the boards, and even when they didn’t get the rebound, they boxed out and got a foul called in our favor.”
The Gaels came into the night shooting just 26.5 percent from the 3-point line, but buried 10 of 22, including four from Palmer. Mericle hit three triples, JT Laufersweiler had two and Jack McElroy one.
“We did a good job in stretches of moving the ball and taking the open shot when we had it,” Kochendorfer said. “Those guys can shoot it and I thought we really played with confidence. (Monday’s win over Storm Lake St. Mary’s) gave us some confidence that we could do it.”
Mericle got St. Edmond off to an early start, scoring eight as they led 11-4. The Cowboys would cut into the lead in the second before the Gaels found their rhythm late.
Leading 16-15 with just over a minute to go, Palmer knocked down a 3-pointer and McElroy hit his triple at the buzzer, sending SEHS into the half up 22-15.
“Those were key shots that we needed to answer their run,” Kochendorfer said. “We got that little run and it gave us back our confidence.”
Clarion-Goldfield/Dows, though, controlled the third, taking its first lead of the game at 35-33 on a bucket by Colin Kirstein. They would go up by six on the heels of an 11-3 run before Palmer answered with a triple.
Down 46-43, Palmer scored on a basket with 55 seconds left and McElroy sank 1 of 2 from the free throw line to tie it. In the extra session, Mericle and Laufersweiler drained back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Gaels the boost they needed.
Both Palmer and Mericle had six rebounds, while McElroy added five.
St. Edmond is scheduled to return to action on Thursday at fourth-ranked (Class 3A) Clear Lake before hosting No. 10 Humboldt Friday. Clarion-Goldfield/Dows welcomes Iowa Falls-Alden on Friday night.
ST. EDMOND 60, CLARION-GOLDFIELD/DOWS 53 (OT)
St. Edmond — Jackson Palmer 8-19 2-2 22, Sam Mericle 8-17 5-7 24, JT Laufersweiler 3-8 1-1 9, Jack McElroy 1-5 2-4 5, Aaron Lursen 0-1 0-4 0, Grant Galles 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 20-50 10-18 60.
Clarion-Goldfield/Dows — Nevan Foss 10-16 1-5 21, Carson Nesheim 3-17 1-2 7, Coy Hanson 3-7 0-0 8, Preston Gardner 2-3 0-0 4, Caden Hankins 3-7 0-0 6, Uli Frias 0-2 0-0 0, Eli Toomsen 0-0 0-0 0, Joshua Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Landen Kakacek 1-3 0-0 3, Colin Kirstein 2-5 0-0 4, Bryce Lindaman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 24-60 2-7 53.
Quarter scores: St. Edmond led 14-7, 22-15; Clarion-Goldfield/Dows 35-33; Tied 46-46. Three-point goals: St. Edmond 10-22 (Palmer 4-8, Mericle 3-8, Laufersweiler 2-4, McElroy 1-2), Clarion-Goldfield/Dows 3-19 (Nesheim 0-9, Hanson 2-6, Frias 0-1, Kakacek 1-3). Total rebounds: St. Edmond 28, Clarion-Goldfield/Dows 35. Steals: St. Edmond 5, Clarion-Goldfield/Dows 6. Blocked shots: St. Edmond 2, Clarion-Goldfield/Dows 2. Team fouls: St. Edmond 11, Clarion-Goldfield/Dows 15. Turnovers: St. Edmond 11, Clarion-Goldfield/Dows 11.