We had two more games, and despite losing both I feel like our offense is starting to turn a corner. Our shooting is improving and I think our guys are getting more comfortable in the new style we implemented this season. We are giving our guys a lot more freedom to make plays and I feel like things are really starting to click for them offensively (defensively we have a lot of improvement to make).
February 4th at Sauk Rapids Rice 78-81
I feel like our game against Sauk Rapids was the best and most complete game that we played all year…other than the last 1:30 of the game. We were able to hold a 44-43 lead going into half and had a late 78-72 lead. Unfortunately, from there out, SRR went on a 9-0 run and we had 4 consecutive turnovers to end the game. We have some young guys that faced new situations for them at the varsity level and made a couple of plays that we would like back as well as a couple of good plays that just didn’t work out.
With the game 78-75, Drew VanEerden was able to get a back tap that unfortunately went to their open shooter in the opposite corner who made a 3 to tie the game. Sauk got the ball back and had a sideline out of bounds play with :10 seconds left that we defended well but they had a guy make a 25 foot contested shot at the buzzer for the 3 point win. Going into the last minute of the game, Sauk was 5/21 on 3’s but went 3/3 from beyond the arc to end the game. It was a heartbreaking game for a team in need of a win, but I think our guys can feel the improvements that are being made.
We were 14/29 on 3’s for the game and 14/14 from the FT line. It was the best we played offensively all season, scoring our 2nd most points, 2nd most 3s made, best 3PT%, most 2nd chance points, 2nd most assists, and best points per possession.
Sauk had a senior post guy that had an incredible game going 18/24 from the field for 44 points and 21 rebounds.
Trevor Johnson had the best game of his young career finishing 10/14 from the field (8/12 from 3) for 31 points and 4 rebounds. Logan Murphy added 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Carson Klein had 10 points and 3 assists, Gabe Huset (in his first career start) had 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 deflections, and 2 steals. Drew VanEerden was extremely energetic coming off of the bench with 7 points and 5 assists. Carter Whitman added 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists.
February 7th at Princeton Loss 69-99
We continued improving offensively (at least in the first half) against a very good Princeton team that has won 17 of their last 18 (including 6 of their last 7 by 30+ points)…unfortunately we weren’t able to contain Princetons transition attack. We were down 48-55 with about a minute left in the half and then Princeton hit back to back 3s to make the halftime score 48-61. They continued that run coming out of the half, going on a 17-2 run to make the lead 72-50.
We were able to shoot it well from beyond the arc again, going 8/21 but we were only 13/43 in the paint. We knew Princeton thrived in transition and they continued that against us…outscoring us 30-2 in transition points…which is a stat that typically goes in our favor. We are continuing to improve on the glass but still have plenty of room for improvement.
Drew VanEerden, in his second game coming off the bench, continues to play extremely well in his new role. Drew brings great energy off the bench and led us in scoring with 15 points and added 5 rebounds. Logan Murphy continues to be a very solid all around player for us, contributing 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists. Trevor added 11 points and 4 rebounds. Gabe Huset, starting his second game in his career, has adjusted extremely well to his new role as well. He added 11 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Also, Nate Halseth, in his first major varsity minutes, played very well. He added 6 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists in 7 first half minutes. It is great when players keep themselves ready and prepared for when their chance comes.