Even though Falls City Sacred Heart has blighted Parkview Christian for the past two seasons, the Patriots have looked to the Irish for inspiration.
Go back to mid-January and the path to Parkview looked like it did in the final season of Sacred Heart. During the MUDECAS Tournament in Béatrice, the Patriots, like the Irish, went 0-2. Sacred Heart then used this fuel to win the 2021 D-2 State Championship.
Fast forward to Saturday, and the same thing happened for the No. 4 Patriots, who cruised to a 64-48 win over No. 4 St. Mary’s to not only claim their first state championship of basketball, but also the first state championship. in any sport.
“So last year we won MUDECAS and beat Freeman…but we told our guys this year that we use Sacred Heart as an example for that,” Parkview coach Nathan Godwin said. “…So we just said the same thing, like, ‘Hey, Sacred Heart did this and now we have to go declare and win.'”
From then on, the Patriots sailed, winning 14 of their final 15 games of the season to claim the D-2 title. Despite the success, Godwin was still worried about entering Saturday’s championship after slaying the dragon at Sacred Heart 46-31 in the semi-finals.
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“I was a little worried about the over-eating feeling that came with it, because they were our nemesis, of course,” Godwin said. “But I know the guys too. When I saw them, we didn’t go to training until very late and I saw in their eyes that they were hungry again.
Parkview certainly looked hungry coming out of the gate with a 17-9 first quarter against St. Mary’s. But what changed the game was the Patriot perimeter defense that caused St. Mary’s problems throughout the game, including limiting All-State player Aidan Hedstrom’s contribution.
Hedstrom still finished with 18 points, but the Cardinals were limited to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field.
“We haven’t hit a lot of buckets,” St. Mary’s coach Luke Bulau said. “We would get one, they (Parkview) would come down and hit some in a timely manner. Or we were trying to bang somebody, especially late, trying to trap, and…one of our guys was screwing up or something.
The Cardinals made it a two-run game late in the first half, but a Brayden Ulrich bucket late in time put the Patriots’ lead at four. Parkview kept the Cardinals at bay until the fourth quarter, when the Patriots’ speed and transition offense became too much.
“I told them in the fourth quarter, ‘We’re up eight, just take one possession at a time,'” Godwin said. “And if we can make a few saves, then we’ll do that because we have ballhandlers who can go for it because there’s no shot clock.”
Michael Ault was Parkview’s star, hitting three three-pointers en route to a game-high 19 points, while 6-foot-8 postman Jaquez Curry added 17. Handyman Viktar Kachalouski was effective on the point, scoring 10 points to go along with nine assists and seven rebounds.
“…From our leaders at school to Coach (PJ) Book, my dad, Steve (Davenport) and all those guys, it means a lot to the school as a whole,” Godwin said. “I’m just beyond proud of our guys for representing our school and doing a great job.”
Photos: Parkview Christian Boys aim for Class D-2 state title against St. Mary’s