Grand Island had to rely on outside shooting and their inside game to earn a boys basketball victory over Lincoln Northeast.
The Islanders relied on a 20-point performance from Noah Vahle, including four three-pointers, while Them Koang added 16 points for a 61-55 victory over the Rockets Friday night at the Ed Johnson Gym in a game heard on ESPN Lincoln 101.5FM/1480AM.
Grand Island (7-9) jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, five of those points coming from Koang before extending their lead to 16-10 heading to the second period. But the Islanders went cold and Northeast heated up, going on a 7-0 run with the Rockets taking control briefly 17-16 after Jake Bard hit a three-pointer with 3:12 left before halftime.
Grand Island didn’t get their first points of the quarter until 2:46 remaining, when Koang hit one of two free throws and Vahle scored off a Northeast turnover that sparked a 9-2 run for a 25-19 halftime lead.
Northeast (4-12) came out shooting to start the second half. Zach Moerer hit a three-pointer to pull the Rockets within three, but Vahle responded with a three of his own to put Grand Island back up by six, 28-22. Vahle scored 12 points in the quarter.
Carson Busch scored 11 of his team-high 20 points for Northeast in the third quarter, while Moerer scored of 11 of his 14 points during the same stretch.
The Islanders led 45-40 heading into the final period, but the Rockets wouldn’t go away. Moerer hit another three to narrow Northeast’s deficit to two, before Grand Island added a free throw to extend the lead back to three.
Bard hit another big three-pointer for Northeast to tie the game at 46, before the Islanders regained control with 2:43 remaining to give Grand Island a 53-48 lead with Koang hitting a pair of free throws and Blake Leiting hit a basket.
Free throws helped Grand Island down the stretch to pull away late.
Bard added 11 points in the loss for Northeast.
CHECK OUT THE SCORES: Friday Prep Basketball Scoreboard.
Follow Jeff Motz on Twitter: @JeffMotzKFOR