Third time the charm for CAL, it’s the end of the line for Trojans

BELMOND – It was inevitable that the end would come at some point. Northeast Hamilton just hoped it would be further down the tournament trail.

But CAL had other plans here Monday night.

The Cadets jumped out to a 10-4 lead after one quarter, owned a 20-12 edge at the half and then withstood a fourth-quarter rally by the Trojans to claim a 49-44 victory in a Class 1A District 3 first round contest.

CAL (4-18) avenged two regular season losses, including a setback just three days earlier, to advance to Thursday’s quarterfinals against West Hancock (18-4) in Britt.

NEH (4-16) was forced to say goodbye to the season and program, and that was difficult for everyone involved, head coach Jerry Klaver said.

“It’s very tough to have it all end. It’s tough for me to be the last coach we ever have and go out with a loss,” Klaver said. “In the second half the guys gave it everything they had, but we let them have too much footing in the beginning.

“Our kids played super hard. I can’t fault them for their effort.”

CAL’s inside-outside tandem of Austin Guerrero and Caleb Striegel tormented the Trojans. Guerrero poured in a game-high 27 points – he cashed in on a pair of 3-pointers and went 9 for 10 at the foul line – and Striegel added 18.

Freshman Wes Wynkoop again showed that his future on the hardwood is quite bright. He led NEH with yet another double-double – 16 points and 16 rebounds – to go along with four steals.

“Wes had a good night for us,” Klaver said. “He’s a pretty good ball player for a freshman.”

Kyle Pruismann contributed 11 points, and Nick Jeffers added seven points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Austin Smith finished with six points.

Wynkoop, Jeffers and Smith all fouled out late for the Trojans, who briefly held the lead at 42-41 before CAL closed on an 8-2 run.