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No. 8 Warriors gain state-qualifier basketball game

KNOCKED AWAY — North Union’s Preston Guerdet taps the basketball away from St. Edmond’s Jack McElroy (10) during Iowa Class 1A, District 1 championship action Tuesday night in Pocahontas, Iowa. North Union’s Khael Jones (far left), Kody Irmiter (33) and Aiden Lofstrom (23), along with St. Edmond’s Jakob Koopman, look on. (Photo by Greg Abel)

POCAHONTAS — The Iowa Class 1A No. 8-ranked North Union Warriors boys basketball team clinched the District 1 championship with a 54-51 win over the St. Edmond Gaels on Tuesday night in Pocahontas, Iowa.

With the win, North Union (21-3) will play at 7 p.m. Saturday against South O’Brien (21-3) in Spencer for a chance to qualify for the state tournament.

The game started off a bit shaky for the Warriors as they fell behind 8-3 in the opening minutes. Senior guard Kyan Jones of the Warriors was forced to the bench early with a pair of quick fouls.

In his absence, fellow senior guard Preston Guerdet got hot making all three of his shots and a free throw to score nine first-quarter points. Guerdet finished the night with a crucial 3-pointer and 24 points for the Warriors.

Warriors head coach Alex Fisher was pleased with his seniors’ performances.

“We just kept our heads, we figured they’d come out on fresh legs and shoot well early on and they did,” Fisher said. “Our kids have a great mindset that it’s four quarters and they really try to wear teams down and get in the fourth and win it.”

Warrior post player Kody Irmiter hit a pair of clutch free throws late in the fourth quarter to give North Union a four-point cushion.

Irmiter ended the night with a solid 12 points and seven boards for the Warriors.

After dealing with the early foul trouble, Jones returned to the game to the tune of six points and eight dimes, making difficult passes look routine.

Senior forward Aiden Lofstrom of the Warriors ended the night with six points as well.

As for the Gaels, they attempted to get sophomore forward Hunter Horn going, but he had an off shooting night. Horn went just 6 of 16 from the floor and finished the night with a still solid 12 points to go with eight boards and three assists.

Sophomore guard Jakob Koopman was the leading scorer on the night for the Gaels. Koopman ended the night with 17 points and six boards on efficient 7 of 9 shooting splits.

Senior guard Sam Mericle had a great first three quarters, but went 0 of 4 from the field in the fourth. He still managed 12 points on the night for the Gaels.

Lastly, senior forward JT Laufersweiler dropped nine points on the night to go with a pair of rejections in the third quarter for St. Edmond.

NU    23- 8-15-8–54

SE      13-15-14-9–51

NORTH UNION (54)

Guerdet 8-10 4-5 24, Irmiter 5-8 2-4 12, Lofstrom 3-5 0-0 6, Ky. Jones 2-4 2-2 6, Fothergill 2-6 0-2 4, Madden 1-6 0-0 2, Henderson 0-2 0-0 0, Kh. Jones 0-1 0-0 0.

ST. EDMOND (51)

Koopman 7-9 2-4 17, Horn 6-16 0-0 12, Mericle 4-13 2-2 12, Laufersweiler 4-6 0-0 9, Galles 0-2 1-2 1, McElroy 0-1 0-0 0, Clavey 0-1 0-0 0.

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