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Free throws help Tigers come from behind to defeat Falcons

Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta stayed unbeaten in West Central Conference boys' basketball with a come-from-behind win over Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City 64-57 Tuesday at home.

Neither team shot well from the floor, but the Tigers sank 24 of 27 at the charity stripe (89 percent) to beat the Falcons, as free throws helped the Tigers pull away down the stretch.

The Tigers, now 12-2 overall, head to Sauk Centre for a conference match up with the Main Streeters on Friday night.

The Tigers, who trailed by six points with four minutes to go, went on a 17-4 run to end the game.

"The comeback started with the Tigers trailing 53-47 after a Falcon free throw with just over four minutes to play," explained coach Mark Torgerson. "Nic Vipond converted an inside basket and was fouled. He converted the free throw to close the gap to three points.

"After a Falcon miss on their next possession, Jacob Torgerson nailed a three pointer to tie it at 55-55," added Torgerson. "From there, the Tigers took charge and turned the tide of the game in their favor.

"Chandler Erickson would convert three of four free throws to give the Tigers the lead for good and Vipond would ice it, which turned a totally frustrating night into a important victory."

Both teams struggled to score points in the first half.

"The Falcons, one of the area's higher scoring teams, managed only 22 points by halftime," said Torgerson. "The Tigers managed to score 23 first-half points giving them a one-point lead at halftime.

"The two teams had completely contrasting defenses that made it difficult for their opponent to get anything going offensively," added Torgerson. "The Falcons used a 1-3-1 zone to frustrate the Tigers, while the Tigers' man-to-man defense held the Falcons in check for the most part."

For the second straight game the Tigers struggled with their shooting. They shot just 32 percent for the game including a dismal 2-for-19 from behind the arc.

"They literally won the game from the free-throw line, something that had hampered them all season," explained Torgerson. "In this game, however, it proved to be the difference. The Tigers ended the night making an amazing 24 of their 27 free-throw attempts.

"Logan Manska, who like most of the Tigers had a sub-par shooting night from the field, converted all 10 of his free throws. Austin Dierks cashed in all six of his free-throw attempts.

"The spark for the night, however, came from the Tigers' Nic Vipond. The senior forward came off the bench and was 8-for-12 from the field and 3-for-4 from the charity stripe to lead the Tigers with 19 points."

Dierks tallied 14 points, while Manska finished with 12 points. Torgerson hit the only two three pointers for the Tigers.

The Tigers had a 38-27 rebounding edge. Vipond had nine rebounds to lead the Tigers with Torgerson and Berget each collecting eight boards.

Erickson led the Tigers with five assists.

The Falcons' shooting night ended with seven made threes on 24 attempts and just 11 for 31 on two-point attempts.

Tyler Larson led the Falcons with 22 points. Dylan Hoerchler produced 16 points and four steals. Jacob Belgum chipped in 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Morris/C-A 64

A-C-GC 57

A-C-GC 22  35 -- 57

Morris/C-A 23  41 -- 64

MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA - 19-60 FG (2-19 3-pt); 24-27 FT; 38 rebounds; 18 fouls; Scoring: Nic Vipond 19, Lincoln Berget 2, Logan Manska 12, Jacob Torgerson 6, Austin Dierks 14, Chandler Erickson 7, John Tiernan 4; 3-point shots: Torgerson 2; Rebounds: Vipond 9, Berget 8, Manska 3, Torgerson 8, Dierks 5, Erickson 3, Tiernan 2; Assists: Tom Holland 1, Berget 1, Manska 1, Torgerson 1, Dierks 1, Erickson 5; Steals: Holland 1, Berget 2, Manska 4, Torgerson 1, Dierks 1

A-C-GC - 18-55 FG (7-24 3-pt); 14-22 FT; 27rebounds; 23 fouls; Scoring: Jordan Nelson 2, Taylor Larson 22, Jacob Belgum 12, Dylan Hoerchler  16, Logan Jacobs 3, Colten Minnick 2; 3-point shots: Larson 4, Hoerchler 2, Belgum; Rebound leaders: Belgum 12, Jacobs 5; Assist leaders: Belgum 4, Hoerchler 3; Steal leaders: Hoerchler 4