Grand Island Central Catholic finished the regular season on a pretty good note.
The Crusaders won five of their final eight games, but two of those losses came to Class C-1 No. 1 Wahoo and Class C-2 No. 1 Sutton.
Central Catholic finished the season with a 60-48 come-from-behind win over St. Paul in a game they trailed 27-17 a the half.
“Tonight was huge for us because all year long we’ve been resilient, and tonight we were in a tough spot, down 10 to a good team,” GICC coach Bill Gavers said after the win over St. Paul. “It would have been easy to just fold the tent, but we haven’t done that all year. We’ve had deficits. We’ve battled. I think our will is very strong. Our desire is very strong.”
Subdistricts for C-1, C-2, D-1 and D-2 will begin on Monday with play-in games for those subdistricts that have five teams.
Now the Crusaders (12-11) will try to carry that into the post season starting with a Class C-1, Subdistrict 6 first-round game at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Aurora against Sandy Creek (14-9).
Top-seeded Adams Central (18-5), coming off a big win over Kearney Catholic on Friday, will play Central City (2-20) at 6:30 p.m. The winners will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday for the subdistrict title.
Gavers said players like Phoenix Stevenson and Riley Shoemaker made plays late in the game against St. Paul that the Crusaders weren’t making earlier this season.
“The second half of the season, we’ve taken really good care of the ball,” Gavers said. “Phoenix knocked down two really big free throws at 40-40. Early in the year we were missing those opportunities.
“Phoenix got a huge steal at the end of the game. Shoemaker made a good post move inside and made two free throws, so our execution at the end of games down the stretch has been very good the second half of the season, and that’s important because to get to where you want to go, you’re going to have to win some tough games down the stretch.”
That road for the Crusaders starts with Sandy Creek. The Cougars enter subdistricts with five wins in their last seven games. That includes two wins over, Milford a team that was rated much of this season.
Gavers said the Crusaders will have to keep an eye on Sandy Creek’s Mitch Heinrichs and Andrew Kuta.
“Mitch Heinrichs is a really good guard, as good a guard as you’ll see, so we have to be ready to defend some things with him. Kuta, a left-handed kid, is a really good scorer. It’s a good defensive team.
“It’s a good challenge. They’ve beaten Milford twice and Milford is awfully good, so they’re, kind of on a roll and we’re playing well right now, so it’s a good match-up.”
Gavers said he’s hoping to see the same effort the Crusaders have given in 22 of their 23 games this season.
“Sandy Creek has an awfully good team,” Gavers said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge. We’re looking forward to Tuesday night.”
Class D-2, Subdistrict 7
Heartland Lutheran will compete in the Class D, Subdistrict 7 at Kenesaw.
The Red Hornets (7-14) open postseason play at 8 p.m. Tuesday against Hampton (9-11). Top-seeded Giltner (18-4) will play Lawrence-Nelson (4-16) at 6 p.m.
The winners will meet for the subdistrict final at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Giltner has won two straight Class D-2 state titles. The Hornets are coming off a 47-44 loss to McCool Junction on Friday.