New year. Same teams. Same result.
After falling to eventual 3A state champion Hunter Huss, 77-49, one year ago in the playoffs, St. Stephens was dealt the same fate Monday.
The Indians (15-12) fell behind in the second quarter and never caught up, losing to the Huskies (13-10) at home.
“(Huss) really came on late in the year it seems,” said Indians coach Murphy Post. “I think they are playing their best ball right now.”
Proving its right to be a playoff team, Saint took an 8-2 lead early in the ball game.
“We came out, took an early lead on them and I think that sort of woke them up a little bit,” Post said.
The Huskies answered by retaking the lead after the first quarter behind seven points from Jeremiah Hunter.
He continued his strong play into the second quarter, scoring six points to lead Huss to a 24-17 lead at the half.
The Huskies powered their way to a double-digit lead in the second half behind athleticism and rebounding.
“They were very athletic and skilled,” Post said. “That was tough for us to defend. They did a good job on the glass. It was a tough night for us all around.”
The Indians cut their deficit to nine points with a couple of late three-pointers, but they got no closer.
Jordy Anderson led Huss with 18 points, including 12 in the second half. Teammates Jeremiah Hunter and Jalen Kennedy added 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Jordan James paced St. Stephens with 14 points, Zach Bumgarner added nine points and Chris Hefner pitched in seven points.
Post finishes his first season as coach with a 15-12 record. Four seniors — Dillion Spencer, Drew Starkey, James and Bumgarner — finished their careers.
“I’ve had a really fun first year,” Post said. “We had a group of four seniors that really worked hard and set the standard for the way things should be here. They made it real easy. Obviously, we wanted to make a playoff run, but for my first year, I feel like I learned a lot moving forward and we’ll have a good group coming back.”