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If it wasn’t apparent that teams need to come ready to play when they head to Lincoln Pius X this season, then the Thunderbolts certainly put everyone on notice Friday night.
The Thunderbolts (2-1) stormed out of the opening tip against Lincoln Southeast (2-1) and overwhelmed the Knights for most of the boys matchup. The result was a dominant 71-47 victory that featured four Pius X players finishing with double-digit points.
“We stepped up really well tonight, and we knew we really had to respond after our loss last week to East,” Pius X coach Brian Spicka said. “We had a really great week of practice, and the guys wanted to come out and put in a great effort tonight. They played with a lot of effort and great execution.”
The first quarter set the tone for Pius X as the Thunderbolts flooded the Southeast passing lanes and turned turnovers into quick points. The defensive performance led to a 15-point lead, 23-8, after one quarter. The Thunderbolts would rarely let their advantage slip below double digits after that.
“We didn’t take care of the basketball,” Lincoln Southeast coach Jonah Bradley said. “We allowed 12 offensive rebounds and we got outrebounded by 15 tonight, which led to easy layups in transition for them, then we’re missing layups on our end. Pius just outplayed us tonight.”
Kolbe Rada led the Thunderbolts with 16 points, while Austin Jablonski, Charlie Easley and Kyle Kluthe all recorded 12 or more points. Pius X was never without offensive production, even when Spicka sent in his reserves, and the Knights just couldn’t find the production to match.
“You have to be able to have a balanced team,” Spicka said. “We have Charlie Easley and Austin Jablonski at the top. but we feel we have just as many guys who can play as well and contribute in a lot of different ways out there.”
The Thunderbolts will next travel to Millard South on Saturday while Southeast will try to rebound at home against Bellevue West.
Pius X girls 64, Southeast 44
It was clear the Pius X girls basketball team knew it had an advantage inside Friday night, and the Class A No. 8 Thunderbolts exploited it as much as they could in their win over Lincoln Southeast.
Pius X's Kloee Samser led all scorers with 20 points, and her partner in the paint, sophomore Alexis Markowski, added 18 points.
The domination inside allowed Pius X to hold a double-digit lead throughout most of the game after building a 17-5 lead in the first quarter.