AUBURN – The Ashland-Greenwood Bluejay boys basketball team finished second at the Ashland-Greenwood Holiday Tournament last week and lost to a tough Auburn team.
The Bluejays defeated the Archbishop Bergan Knights 64-49 in the opening round of the tournament on Dec. 30.
The Bluejays used a strong defensive effort in the first quarter to build a lead they would maintain throughout the rest of the game.
The Jays led 14-6 after one quarter and the Knights were not able to get any closer than seven points the rest of the way.
The Jays shot 70% from the field and missed on only two of their shot attempts inside the 3-point line.
“We had great balance in our first game back from the holiday break. We scored the ball very well inside the arc converting on 23-of-25 two point shots which is amazing. We did a good job handling their defensive pressure and really made them work to score the basketball,” said Ashland-Greenwood Coach Jacob Mohs.
The Bluejays also won the rebound battle 30-14.
Senior Jarrod Nafzinger led the Jays with 15 points and added five rebounds and five assists. Senior Aiden Lindley scored 12 points and junior Evan Shepard had nine points and six rebounds.
Sophomore Cougar Konzem had 11 points and six rebounds and junior Max Parker scored six points and grabbed a team high eight rebounds.
The Jays returned to the court the next day in the tournament championship game against Omaha Roncalli Catholic on New Year’s Eve. The game went down to the final seconds with the Crimson Pride pulling out the narrow 62-56 victory.
The Jays led 41-40 going into the fourth quarter, but the Pride outscored AGHS 22-15 over the final eight minutes.
Nafzinger went out early in the game with an injury and the Jays lost their top ball handler and defender.
“Losing Jarrod early in the game to injury hurt us on defense because he does such an outstanding job every single game,” Mohs added.
Shepherd stepped up in Nafzinger’s absence and led the Jays with a career-high 20 points
Lindley and Brooks Kissinger scored 11 apiece and Konzem added nine points and five assists.
“We did some good things throughout the game, but we had too many costly turnovers that gave them some easy buckets at key times. We did enough offensively to win the game but our defense struggled to keep them out of the paint,” Mohs added.
The Jays first contest of the New Year came against two-time defending champ and undefeated Auburn Bulldogs in Auburn on Jan. 2.
The Bulldogs led 35-17 at the half and cruised to the 53-33 win over the Jays.
“We struggled on both ends of the floor in this game. Auburn was a solid team and we just did not do the things you need to do in order to compete against a good team,” said Mohs.
The Jays shot 35% from the field and made just 2-of-15 from behind the 3-point line.
Konzem led the Jays with 12 points and six rebounds. Shepard added seven points and five rebounds.
The Jays next game will come at home against Fort Calhoun on Jan. 9.