By Zach James
Assistant Sports Editor
Early in the boys basketball season, there will be some matchups that involve smaller schools taking on larger schools, as in the River City Classic opener Friday night.
The Prince of Peace Irish had a tough challenge facing Davenport North, but any casual fan inside Yourd Gym wouldn't have known which school was the larger of the two throughout most of the game.
Davenport North held on to win 61-51 but had to battle with the Irish for nearly the full 32 minutes.
The closest the Irish got was in the second quarter near the four-minute mark, when it was 23-21. They never got over the top but enjoyed the challenge.
"Our kids battled, and they were a tough team. We played hard, but had several missed opportunities," Irish coach Gerry Murphy said. "We need to clean up some of the little things, and when we do that, we'll be a bit more competitive."
Leading scorer for the Irish was senior Lucas Laufenberg with 27 points, including 10 down the stretch before the Wildcats started to pull away.
"He plays hard and leaves it all on the floor every time, and he's a competitive kid," Murphy said. "He's been a treat to coach."
The Irish brought their deficit to within three points in the fourth quarter, but the Wildcats responded by going on a 7-2 run that made things just out of the reach of Prince of Peace.
Murphy knows for a team to knock off a "bigger" opponent, turnovers and empty possessions cannot happen.
"You can't turn the ball over or miss bunnies," he said. "You can't have the combination of both, and on top of that, they had too many extra opportunities around the rim.
"I thought about going to zone late, but I wanted to see how the kids would compete toward the end, and they certainly did."
Davenport North made it difficult for the Irish to catch up from the opening tip, scoring 19 first-quarter points on eight made field goals, three apiece from Jordan Morgan and TJ Moore. Moore scored 15, while Morgan scored 11 against the Irish.
While Davenport North gets an early Mississippi Athletic matchup with the Clinton River Kings today, Prince of Peace will play in the consolation game against Camanche, which is looking for their first win.
"Camanche is always a tough, well-coached team," Murphy said. "I'm eager to watch this (Clinton vs. Camanche) game as a fan, but I have to do a little scouting, so hopefully we can compete well Saturday."
The consolation game is slated for 1 p.m. in Yourd Gym.
DAVENPORT NORTH 61, PRINCE OF PEACE 51
NORTH (1-0) — Jordan Morgan 5 0-0 9, Austen Thomas 1 0-0 2, Corey Lamonte 1 0-0 2, Kevin Murphy 3 4-6 11, Corey Iossi 0 0-2 0, Logan Wadsworth 1 0-0 2, Shawn Butler 8 1-4 18, Rob Wolf 0 0-0 0, TJ Moore 7 1-2 15. Totals — 26 6-14 61.
PRINCE OF PEACE (1-1) — Quin Schnier 2 2-2 6, Lucas Laufenberg 10 6-9 26, Caleb Kitteringham 2 0-0 4, Jacob Jankowski 1 0-0 2, Nic Roth 3 5-6 11, Andrey Drury 1 0-0 2, Devin Bly 0 0-0 0, AJ Williams 0 0-0 0, Seht Moeller 0 0-0 0, Will Andresen 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 13-17 51.
Davenport North 19 12 13 17 — 61
Prince of Peace 13 15 10 13 — 51
3-point goal — North 1 (Morgan).