by Joey Waller
In The Game Staff Writer
Gross used the late-game heroics of Zach Johnk to take down Roncalli 50-47 in a top-10 battle.
With the game tied 47 and a minute left, the No. 8 Cougars (9-6) held the ball for the last shot. With three seconds left Johnk popped open at the top of the key and hit a 3-pointer to lift the Cougars over No. 10 Roncalli (9-5).
"We did a good job holding the ball for the last minute," coach Tim Powers said. "We just ran our regular offense. Zach came off of a pick-and-roll on top of the key and stepped up and hit the shot."
Gross took their first lead of teh fourth quarter off two free throws from JJ Lebeda to make it 44-42 with 3:20 left. They held that lead for just over a minute until Roncalli hit a trey to knot it up at 47.
The game was tight all night with neither team holding a lead larger than seven points.
"Neither team was ever able to be comfortable," Powers said. "It came down to we hit one more shot than them."
While Johnk ended the game for the Cougars, Joe Coenen's hot start game them an early boost.
Coenen was dominant in the low-point and scored Gross' first eight points in his 10-point first quarter effort.
He added another six in the second to score more than half of the Cougars' first half points and help grab a 31-27 halftime lead.
"We did a good job early getting it into Joe," Powers said, "and he did good finishing when he got it. They started doubling and tripling him after that and it kind of took us out of flow."
The Cougars hit a wall in the third where Roncalli outscored them 12-5.
Despite going cold from the floor, the Cougars were able to escape the third quarter with only a three-point deficit.
"I thought we had good shots, but we just couldn't connect," Powers said about the third quarter. "Luckily, we played good defense so we were still in the game."
Coenen finished with the game-high 22 points and Jake Hansen put in 10 for Gross.
Article published on January 30, 2012 in the Bellevue Leader.
Photos by Katy Miller '15