Michael Roe didn’t have to wait long to pick up his first win as the head coach of the Concordia High School boys’ basketball team.
Freshman Cooper Holmes and senior Alan Garcia combined for 32 points as Concordia opened its season with a 54-41 victory over the Beloit Trojans Friday night in the Concordia Junior-Senior High School gymnasium.
Holmes knocked down 8 of 11 field goal attempts and one of three free throws in scoring 17 points in his Concordia debut. He also had nine rebounds.
Garcia was five of nine from the floor and four of seven from the line in scoring 15 points for the Panthers. He had four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Concordia trailed only twice in the game, by one point each time, and used a 10-2 spurt late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, to open up a double digit lead.
The Panthers would not allow Beloit to get closer than nine points in the final period.
“There is nothing better than playing a good team and kind of seeing where you are at,” Roe said, “I thought we did a good job of playing together.”
Concordia, which used just six players in the game, finished with 12 assists on 22 made field goals.
“These six kids who played tonight play well together. It is good to see them push the ball, hit each other and take good shots,” Roe said.
The game was tied at 2-2 when Holmes scored six straight points to put Concordia up 8-2.
Holmes had the first eight points in the game for the Panthers.
“He is mature beyond his years in a basketball sense. The best thing about him is he is such a polite young man you would never think he could be such a dominant force on the court,” Roe said of Holmes.
Beloit, hitting three threes, battled back to take a 13-12 lead on a triple by Payton Vetter 1:14 into the second quarter.
The two teams traded baskets, and Concordia, trailing 15-14, outscored Beloit 11-4 over the final 4:27 of the first half to grab a 25-19 advantage.
Grant Holmes was fouled as time ran out in the half, and made both free throws, to give the Panthers the six-point cushion. He finished with nine points and six rebounds.
Austin Budke, a 6-6 senior, scored the first two points of the second half, and Beloit trailed just 25-21.
“Beloit caused us a lot of matchup problems with the Budke kid. You can’t guard him with a guard and you can’t guard him with a post. We have to find a better way defensively to handle players such as that,” Roe said.
Budke scored 17 points for the Trojans.
It was a 27-23 game when Garcia scored four points in 25 seconds to put Concordia up 31-23.
“Alan has got more energy than anybody else on the team. He never stops going. He has become a great team player for us,” Roe said.
Five straight points by Vetter got Beloit back within three points, 31-28.
Vetter finished with 15 points.
Concordia used an 8-2 spurt to open up a 39-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Panthers pushed the lead to 13 points, 45-32, on a basket by Cooper Holmes with 4:26 to play.
Beloit could get no closer than nine points the rest of the way.
Gabe Bergmann scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds for Concordia.
Joshua Pounds handed out five assists.
The Panthers made 22 of 45 field goal attempts for 49 percent.
Concordia was just 9 of 20 from the free throw line for 45 percent, and made just 1 of 11 three-point attempts.
The Panthers will host Republic County on Tuesday night.
Budke 8-0-4 17, Palen 1-0-4 2, Kost 1-0-2 3, P. Vetter 5-1-2 15, B. Vetter 1-0-2 2, Jackson 1-0-1 2, Krone 0-0-1 0, Pahls 0-0-3 0. Totals: 18-1-19 41.
K. Pounds 1-0-0 2, Garcia 5-4-2 15, J. Pounds 2-0-1 4, G. Holmes 3-3-2 9, C. Holmes 8-1-1 17, Bergmann 3-1-3 7. Totals: 22-9-9 54.