STORM LAKE - The undefeated, second-ranked Storm Lake St. Mary's Panthers, the defending Class 1A State champion, had all they could handle in defeating Alta-Aurelia, 57-44, in Twin Lakes Conference boys basketball action here on Tuesday.
The Warriors' Neil Marshall had a fantastic game, netting 24 points - the only Warrior to score in double figures for the usually well-balanced A-A team.
Luke Lenhart led St. Mary's with 22 points, and he was aided considerably by Kennedy Drey, who scored 16 and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
"St. Mary's is a team that has it all," said Alta-Aurelia Coach Dean Lietz. " Luke (Lenhart) and Kennedy (Drey) are a handful to guard and St. Mary's defense was outstanding.
"We played right with them in the second half," Lietz continued, "but we allowed some spurts in the first half that got us down."
This was the Warriors' (11-9) final conference game of the season. They host River Valley in a non-conference game Friday, and then start down the Class 2A tournament trail on Monday, when they host Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove in Alta.
Coach Lietz commented after Tuesday's game, "All of our guys competed for the full 32 minutes. I'm proud of our guys - and we are going to be a tough out come tournament time."