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Xavier Saints surge past Comets 49-41 in season-opener

Xavier Saints surge past Comets 49-41 in season-opener
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City senior Jack Hanson scores 2 of his game-high 13 points while being guarded by Xavier sophomore Zander Murray, who led the game-winning Saints with 12 points.

By John Burbridge

CEDAR RAPIDS — Bereft of a few premiere one-on-one swing players from last season lost to graduation and school transfer, the Charles City Comets have committed themselves to be more of an outside shooting threat this season.

The longer-range strategy started to yield some dividends midway through the second quarter of Charles City’s season-opener on the road against Xavier on Tuesday.

Senior Jeb Wandro managed to convert the “good ol’” 4-point-play — 3-point shot plus the foul — to put the Comets up 19-17.

Charles City managed to maintain a 2- to 4-point advantage through the rest of the first half and into most of the second half before a cold-shooting bout in the fourth quarter enabled the Saints to catch and overtake the Comets on way to a 49-41 victory.

While on the way to outscoring the Comets 13-3 in the final eight minutes, the Saints tied the game at 40 with 3:10 left in regulation after a throw-down bucket by Xavier’s 6-foot-9 senior center Tyler Netolicky.

Then it was a sequence of actions from Xavier senior captain Dominic D’Amico that essentially sealed the game.

First, D’Amico followed his missed shot from the top of the key for a 10-footer in the lane to give the Saints their first lead (42-40) since before Wandro’s 4-point play. Then on the next Xavier possession, D’Amico drilled his lone 3-pointer of the game to extend the lead to 5 (45-40) with 90 seconds left in regulation.

Charles City, who had gone more than six minutes without scoring in the second half while stuck on 38 before finally getting to 40, definitely needed a bucket after D’Amico’s trey only to be thwarted by the Saints’ defense and D’Amico, who secured the defensive rebound.

Charles City senior Jack Hanson led all scorers in the hard-fought defensive dual with 13 points. Wandro had 10 points, and Comet senior Keenan Wiley pulled down 10 rebounds.

Xavier sophomore guard Zander Murray scored 12, Netolicky scored 11 and sophomore guard Lorenzo Pino added 10

“Very proud of the way that our guys competed against Xavier,” Charles City coach Ben Klapperich said. “I thought we executed our defensive game plan exceptionally well on their bigs.

“We needed a couple breaks to go our way late in the game and didn’t get them.”

The Comets are sure not getting any breaks with their schedule as their first four games of the season are all distant road games.

In addition to Thursday’s game in Clear Lake, the Comets will travel to Algona on Saturday before starting the Northeast Iowa Conference slate of their schedule with a road game against Decorah on Dec. 8.


Scoring By Quarters

Charles City 8 18 12 3 — 41

Xavier 12 12 12 13 — 49

Individual Scoring

CHARLES CITY — Jack Hanson 13, Kaden Buseman 2, Keenan Wiley 4, Jordan Foster 2, Kayden Kasemeier 6, Jordin Ritter 4, Jeb Wandro 10.

XAVIER — Zander Murray 12, Lorenzo Pino 10, Kaleb Wigenbusch 5, Dominic D’Amico 7, AJ Evans 4, Tyler Netolicky 11.

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