Lutheran North junior Mitch Visbara knocks the ball loose from Cardinal Mooney freshman Daniel Everhart during a basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015 at Cardinal Mooney High School in Marine City.
MARINE CITY – They knew it wouldn’t be easy.
But maybe they didn’t expect it to be this hard.
The Cardinals Mooney boys basketball team expected a big test Tuesday at home against Lutheran North.
Only 11 minutes into the game, however, the Cardinals appeared shell shocked when their deficit crept to 23 points.
The Cardinals gave a spirited second-half effort to pull within 11, but never got closer and lost to Lutheran North, 61-46, at Cardinal Mooney.
Daniel Everhart had 15 points to lead Cardinal Mooney. Adam Freeman scored seven points, and Matt Torey and Daniel Bobick each scored six for Cardinal Mooney.
Jake Schinkai scored a game-high 17 points for Lutheran North.
“We started the game way too slow,” Everhart said.
“We found out we could play with them, and we were better when we matched up with them and figured out how they played.”
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, it was too little too late. Lutheran North (11-5) is in a higher division of the Catholic League and features a talented, deep roster.
The Cardinals (10-6) slow start spotted Lutheran North a 15-8 after the first quarter. It was more than enough cushion for North.
The Cardinals’ mistakes became amplified In the second quarter as Lutheran North heated up. Cardinal Mooney quickly fell behind by double digits and trailed by as many as 23 points.
Lutheran North held into the momentum and led 39-18 at halftime.
“Our start was really important because of how well they were playing coming into the game,” Lutheran North coach Kevin Murawski said. “We didn’t play as well in the second half, but we had a lead.”
The Cardinals quickly got back in the game in the third quarter. Everhart made a pair of 3-pointers and the Cardinals closed within 11 at 45-34.
But they would get no closer. Lutheran North responded with a 5-0 run and led the Cardinals 50-37 entering the fourth quarter.
Cardinal Mooney pulled within 11 points again midway through the fourth quarter, but Lutheran North kept the advantage by breaking the Cardinals’ trap with ease.
The loss ends Cardinal Mooney’s six-game win streak, but all is not lost.
Cardinal Mooney will begin the Catholic League playoffs Saturday against Allen Park Cabrini at Sacred Heart.
Cardinal Mooney hasn’t won a Catholic League playoff game in eight years.
“We are going to use our second half as a springboard,” Cardinal Mooney coach Mike McAndrews said. “It showed us how we want to play and how good we can be in stretches.
“The biggest thing for us is still consistency. They came out and played well in the first half, and we didn’t respond well to their first punch.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jhayes1136.