Kiefer Powers of St. Thomas Aquinas Academy shakes head coach Ric Powers’ hand while holding the game ball after scoring his 1,000th career point in Marinette on Thursday. His father, assistant coach Terry Powers, is at right. <br> EagleHerald/Billy Betts
Kiefer Powers of St. Thomas Aquinas Academy shakes head coach Ric Powers’ hand while holding the game ball after scoring his 1,000th career point in Marinette on Thursday. His father, assistant coach Terry Powers, is at right.
EagleHerald/Billy Betts
MARINETTE - Needing four points to eclipse the 1,000-point career mark, Kiefer Powers gave a packed house at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy exactly what they were looking for.

Behind 22 points from Powers and another strong defensive effort by the Cavaliers, they defeated Gillett 52-42 on Thursday.

"Scoring 1,000 points was always a goal of mine since I started playing basketball as a kid," Powers said. "It's a great feeling that I'll always remember."

After converting a three-point play on an alley-oop and foul, Powers drew another foul with 5:27 left in the first quarter.

Powers connected on the first shot from the charity stripe, stopping the game as he was honored with a game-ball with the crowd going crazy.

"I'm very proud of him and we had a great crowd here to witness it tonight," STAA coach Ric Powers said.

STAA jumped out to a 17-9 first quarter lead behind five steals and four breakaway layups.
It was more of the same in the second quarter for the Cavaliers as Brennan Bardowski opened up the quarter with a steal and a fast-break layup.

With the score at 23-15 at the two-minute mark, Powers closed out the quarter with a 3-pointer to give STAA a 26-15 halftime lead.

"Too many turnovers led to a lot of easy baskets for STAA," Gillett coach William Greenwood III said. "Mentally, it just seemed like we were out of it early in the game."

Powers converted on another three-point play to start the third quarter and Mike Schmidt buried a triple to give STAA a 32-19 lead two minutes into the third quarter.

The Tigers defense, which was primarily a 1-3-1 zone, began to take its toll on the Cavaliers as they played physical and forced STAA to turn the ball over.

Both teams went back-and-forth throughout the next eight minutes and Dylan Roberts brought the Tigers to within seven at 39-32 with 6:30 remaining in the contest.

Powers and Bardowski scored on back-to-back fast-break layups to extend the Cavaliers lead to 43-32 with 5:40 left, but three minutes later, it was 47-40 after Roberts sank two free throws.

Jameson Bardowski and Schmidt put the game away as Bardowski sank two free throws with 1:15 remaining and Schmidt stole the Gillett inbound pass and made a shot inside to put the game away at 51-40.

"We gutted out a win," Ric Powers said. "We didn't practice that well this week and we played like it. This group is still learning to how to succeed and play at its best level every night. We'll keep working hard to get better."

Schmidt aided Powers by finishing with nine points for STAA (5-1, 3-1 in the M&O Conference). Jameson Bardowski had eight and Brennan Bardowski had six.

"I thought Brennan played an excellent game on defense and really stepped up for us in the fourth quarter when we needed it," Powers said. "They focused on stopped Kiefer and Jameson and Brennan came up big tonight."

Roberts led the Tigers (2-5 overall, 2-3 in the M&O) with 20 points, 18 coming in the second half. Dan Torres had 12 and Jake Kasten added six.

"We were sitting at 5-2 last year and struggled down the stretch," Kiefer Powers said. "This group is going to work hard to not let that happen again. The most important thing is for us to keep playing hard and working together and getting better every game."

Gillett won the junior varsity game 30-27.
STAA (52) - Schmidt 9, Beranek 2, J. Bardowski 8, Harvey 0, B. Bardowski 6, Boyle 3, Paul 0, Vasant 2; FGs: 19; FTs: 9-16

GILLETT (42) - Kasten 6, Peterson 2, Bubolz 0, Torres 12, Roberts 20, Werner 2, Kohler 0; FGs: 15; FTs: 12-26

STAA 17 9 11 15 - 52
Gillett 9 6 13 14 - 42