Holdingford senior Jeremy Springer gave Pierz for its money.
But in the end, Pierz was able to withstand the Huskers guard’s 30 points, three of which came at the last second to force overtime, and prevail 56-51 on the road, Feb. 6.
“Between overtime and regulation we talked about being focused and stay focused throughout the game no matter what the score is,” Pierz head coach Matt Poepping said. “We lost our focus the last 10 minutes of regulation and pulled it together in overtime.
“We have been in many games where it has come down to the last four minutes and we haven’t been able to put teams away,” he said. “It’s important to play in these types of games, because in the playoffs you will be ready for those type of situations. It was big to get this one because it gives the kids some confidence that we can win close games.”
Sophomore Nick Herold led the Pioneers with 16 points, followed by sophomore Aaron Weber with 10, junior Robbie Skiba with nine and junior Ethan Lochner and sophomores Noah Boser and Jonny Kasper with seven apiece.
Lochner pulled down a team-high 16 rebounds and Weber had nine, with Kasper distributing four assists.
Herold scored 15 of his 16 points on five deep balls.
“Nick started the game hot hitting three threes in the first five minutes,” Poepping said. “It makes the defense honor that outside shot, and Nick is one of our quicker players, so when you’re hitting that outside shot teams have to close out hard on you and then you can give a shot fake and get to the bucket with the dribble.”
HLWW edges Pierz in fast-paced rematch
After Pierz nearly upset Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted (HLWW) in the team’s first meeting of the season, HLWW won the high-scoring sequel, Monday, outpacing the host Pioneers 90-72.
Pierz had four players in double figures offensively, including Weber (21), Robbie Skiba (16), Boser (15) and sophomore David Skiba (13), with sophomore Brodric Lashinski adding five points.
Holdingford fell 74-47 at Eden Valley-Watkins, Feb. 8 and 69-50 to visiting Rockford Area, Monday, with Springer’s hot hand continuing with 25 points against Rockford.