A nine point loss (75-66) was not quite what Kevin Poelker and his De Smet Jesuit Spartans had in mind, facing rival Rockhurst of Kansas City in the Coaches vs Cancer Shootout at the Scottrade Center today. The two schools last met in Columbia in the state semifinals with DeS met winning in double overtime 14 years ago.
The State Line Road boys had other plans. "A win sure means a nicer bus ride home," said the Hawklettes coach Mark Nussbaum.
"After the first few possessions, I think we did a nice job of putting some different defenses on them," said Nussbaum.
Kyle Wolf, just now going through the recruiting process, led The Rock with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
His counterpart, senior forward Nolan Berry, who is going to Butler is just rounding into shape after rebounding from two broken arms in a practice last fall.
"We know they wanted to go to the big boy (Berry) and we used some different defenses on him." said the Rockhurst coach.
Berry hit 10 of 11 free throws and led all scorers with 25 points. His next coach, Brad Stevens of Butler was in the house. His Bulldogs have an Atlantic 10 showdown with Saint Louis U. tonight.
Berry wanted to shine for his new coach. "He (Stevens) told me he would be here to watch me. The whole team, my family; we are all going to watch them play tonight (Butler at Chaifetz Arena). Tip off is at 8 p.m.
Kevin Poelker was disappointed with the outcome. "They (Rockhurst) absolutely played well. We didn't play well defensively."
Rockhurst shot 51 percent from the field for the game. DeSmet shot 41 percent. Rockhurst won the battle of the boards 37 rebounds to 29.
Would Rockhurst love to face De Smet in the state tournament in March? "We'd love to play them. We'd love to play anyone," said a much pleased Nussbaum.