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Mendota senior Trae Blumhorst (center) is surrounded by St. Bede defenders Bobby Morrow (left), Joe Pyszka (No. 52) and Sam Lucas during the Trojans’ 60-43 victory Tuesday in Mendota. NewsTribune photo/Genna Ord
The Mendota boys basketball team knew coming into Tuesday’s matchup against St. Bede that the Bruins’ offense ran through center Joe Pyszka.
Mendota center Austin O’Sadnick and the Trojan defense were able to hold the 6-foot-7 Bruin big man scoreless to help fuel a 60-43 win over the Academy in non-conference action in Mendota.
The Trojans frustrated Pyszka with constant attention in their 2-3 zone and disrupted entry passes into the post all night to slow down the St. Bede attack.
“We worked like crazy the last couple days on knowing that their whole offense goes through Joe Pyszka,” said Mendota (14-8) coach Jan Thompson, whose squad ended a five-game losing skid with the victory. “First of all (Pyszka) is a real great kid, and I hope he does well.
“But Austin O’Sadnick, I can’t say more about this kid. That was the best performance I’ve seen from Austin O’Sadnick in his high school career all around. He’s scored more points than that and he’s done other things, but his defensive effort tonight and rebounding and attacking the basket was as good as I’ve seen ever from Austin O’Sadnick.”
Mendota forward Trae Blumghorst — who led all scorers with 20 points and helped double down on Pyszka in the post — credited O’Sadnick with shutting down Pyszka.
“O’Sadnick played his butt off. We always joke with O’Sadnick that Pyszka has owned him ever since we’ve played them. I think he may have took it to heart today,” Blumhorst said. “He came out and took it as a mission. Not just on defense. He got it done both ways.”
O’Sadnick finished with 13 points for the Trojans, who led 21-19 after the first quarter and opened up some breathing room in the second.
After St. Bede’s Damin Smith knotted the score at 21-21 with a jumper early in the second, the Trojans rattled off an 11-3 run to end the quarter, and Blumhorst’s basket in the lane with five seconds left gave MHS a 32-24 lead at intermission.
Jon Gehm pushed the MHS lead up to 11 with a 3-pointer to open up the second half, and the Trojans never led by less than nine as they held on for their second victory of the season over the Bruins.
James Carroll joined Blumhorst and O’Sadnick in double-digit scoring with 13 points, while Gehm finished with nine — all on 3-pointers.
St. Bede coach Mike Kilmartin said Pyszka, who fouled out midway through the fourth quarter, had not been shut out scoring in the two years he has been head coach.
“(Pyszka going scoreless) may have happened to him as a sophomore, but he wasn’t one of the prime players then,” Kilmartin said. “(Mendota) can simulate him — other teams can’t. They have their own big guy, and he’s hurt us twice.”
Smith led St. Bede (18-5) with 15 points, and Sam Lucas added 14 for the Bruins.
“We played very well Friday at Newman and then stunk it up tonight,” Kilmartin said.