Luck defeats Hurley to earn trip to regional final

Cards fall short of title in two-point loss to Drummond

Luck 57, Hurley 43

Marty Seeger|Staff writer

LUCK – It was a great showing for the Luck Cardinal boys basketball team as they faced a tough Hurley team in the regional semifinal game in Luck on Friday, March 2. Hurley looked better than their No. 6 seed entering Friday’s game against the No. 3 seeded Cardinals, who held a slim lead in the early goings of the game.

With 10:45 to go in the first half Luck led 11-6, and before going on a defensive run, as Payton Ellefson converted a layup after a steal and Levi Jensen, who finished with a team-leading 22 points, stole the ball and scored a pair to put the Cardinals up by seven.

Levi Jensen of Luck scrambles for a loose ball during the regional semifinal against Hurley on Friday, March 2. The Cardinals advanced to the regional final the next day but lost to Drummond, 45-43. – Photos by Marty Seeger

A pair of early fouls put senior guard Jack Johansen on the bench, but his brother Gage Johansen hit three 3-pointers in the first half to give the Cardinals offense the sparks it needed to hold a decent lead. With just under four minutes to go in the half, Gage Johansen hit his third three and gave Luck their largest lead of the half, 23-15. But Hurley responded and climbed to within four points with 2:30 left to play. Jensen helped keep the lead on the Cardinals side with two baskets late in the first half and the Cardinals maintained a 27-21 lead at the break.

Luck senior Payton Ellefson tries a shot for three against Hurley.

The second half was a different story for the Cardinals to start as they scored eight unanswered points and forced Hurley to take a timeout with 15:08 left in the game. After the timeout, Luck continued to convert on offense with Jack Johansen back in command at the point. He led the Cardinals with several assists and with 11:06 left in the game the Cardinals had a 20-point 41-21 lead.

Despite Hurley getting as close as 11 points, it was all Luck for the most part in the second half. The final points totals included Jensen’s 22 points, followed by Gage Johansen, 11, Ben Smith, 10, Jack Johansen, eight, Payton Ellefson, four, and Riley Runnels, two.

Drummond 45, Luck 43

ASHLAND – After a convincing win over a tough Hurley opponent during the regional semifinal, the Cardinals were faced with a long trek north to Ashland to take on No. 2 seeded Drummond on Saturday, March 3. The 4 p.m. start to the regional championship turned out to be a defensive battle that Drummond escaped by just two points, ending Luck’s season.

The Cardinals finished fourth in the conference standings at 7-5, and were 15-9 overall. The Cardinals will graduate three seniors this year including Ellefson, Jack Johansen and Grant Richter.

Drummond advances to the sectional semifinal against No. 1 seeded South Shore, which will be played at Northwestern on Thursday, March 8.

No game stats were available at press time.

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