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Tiger free throws keeps game close

Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta Tiger Riley Biesterfeld takes a jump shot against visiting Mainstreeters from Sauk Centre on Thursday, Dec. 12.

The Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta boy’s basketball team got edged by the Sauk Centre Mainstreeters on Thursday, Dec. 12. The Tigers fell to Mainstreeters 64-61. On Saturday, Dec. 14, the Tigers were at home again against Ortonville, but took a 65-58 loss after the Trojans converted 22 of their 28 free throws at the line.

Sauk Centre 64, Morris/C-A 61

By the scoreboard, one could tell the Tigers came to play. The game was close throughout with the Tigers tying it up multiple occasions and neither team having a giant lead.

The Tigers were only trailing 29-27 with just over three minutes left in the first half. The Mainstreeters got their seventh foul, sending Noah Grove to the line for one-and-one chance. Grove has been spotless from the free throw line this year, so naturally he hits both to tie up the game at 29.

With just over a minute left to play in the half, the Mainstreeters went to the free throw line, converted the first throw, missed the second, got their own rebound and put it back to take back the lead 34-31. After a three-pointer at the buzzer by Sauk Centre, the Mainstreeters went into the locker room with a 37-31 lead.

Eric Staebler led the Tigers in the first half scoring nearly half the Tigers points with 15.

In second half, the Mainstreeters took control early going on a 13-3 run in the opening five minutes of play. Despite Sauk Centre owning a 16-point lead at one point in the second half, the Tigers kept chipping into the lead little by little. Grove hit a three pointer with just under ten minutes of play to cut the Mainstreeter lead to 11. The Tigers cut the lead to six with just over five minutes left in the game after Staebler hit an open jumper in the paint. Bryce Jergenson added two more with his made free throws bringing the score to within four at 55-51 with 4:28 left in the half.

Turnovers, fouls and timeouts filled the last four minutes of the game. The Tigers kept closing in, cutting the lead to one possession when Andrew Goulet got a bucket under the basket, forcing a Mainstreeter timeout with just over two minutes left. Staebler got the ball back and got fouled, sending him to the line for one and one chance and tying the game up at 59 at 1:32. Riley Biesterfeld made two free throws to give the Tigers the lead 61-59. Next possession, the Mainstreeter Matthew Moritz canned a three-pointer in under thirty seconds left to give visiting Sauk Centre a 64-61 lead and the game.

Staebler collected another double-double by piling up a game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds. Staebler has a double-double in four of the Tigers’ five games this season.

Grove added 15 points and Jergenson chipped in 11 points, five rebounds and three steals for the Tigers.

Josh Buschette paced Sauk Centre with 21 points, four assists and three steals.

Sauk Centre 64, Morris/C-A 61

Sauk Centre 37 33 — 64

Morris/C-A 31 30 — 61

SAUK CENTRE – 25-57 FG (6-22 3-pt); 9-12 FT; 21 rebounds; 18 fouls; Scoring: Josh Buschette 21, Austin Nelson 8, Seth Otte 5, Matthew Moritz 10, Austin Landkammer 2, Andrew Primus 5, Adam Jensen 4, Cole Neuberg 4, Casey Weber 5; 3-point shots: Buschette 3, Moritz 2, Otte 1, Primus 1; Rebound leaders: n/a; Assist leaders: Buschette 4; Steal leaders: Buschette 3, Nelson 3

MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA – 21-50 FG (4-13 3-pt); 15-16 FT; 29 rebounds; 12 fouls … Scoring: Noah Grove 15, Trent Wulf 2, Bryce Jergenson 11, Riley Biesterfeld 2, Jacob Zosel 2, Andrew Goulet 2, Nic Solvie 2, Eric Staebler 25 … 3-point shots: Grove 3, Jergenson 1 … Rebound leaders: Staebler 14, Jergenson 5; Assist leaders: Goulet 5; Steal leaders: Jergenson 3, Staebler 3; Blocks: Grove 2

Ortonville 65, Morris/C-A 58

The Tigers fell behind 16-3 to start the game, but fought back and took a brief lead early in the second half. However, Ortonville would make its free throws down the stretch — the Trojans made 22 in 28 attempts for the game — to keep the Tigers winless, now 0-6.

James Nitz supplied the Trojans with 23 points and nine rebounds, while Jacob Hamann chipped in another 22 points.

Eric Staebler paced the Tigers with 17 points and nine rebounds, and Noah Grove added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.

The Tigers now travel to New London-Spicer on Tuesday, Dec. 17 to battle the undefeated Wildcats.

Ortonville 65, Morris/C-A 58

Ortonville (4-2) 31 34 — 65

Morris/C-A (0-6) 27 31 — 58

ORTONVILLE – 21-44 FG (1-8 3-pt); 22-28 FT; 31 rebounds; 13 fouls; Scoring: Noah Kottke 9, James Nitz 23, Britton Conroy 5, Jacob Hamann 22, Riley Thompson 6; 3-point shots: Kottke 1; Rebound leaders: Nitz 9, Thompson 8; Assist leaders: n/a; Steal leaders: none; Blocks: Thompson 3

MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA – 23-57 FG (6-14 3-pt); 6-7 FT; 19 rebounds; 19 fouls; Scoring: Noah Grove 16, Ian Howden 4, Bryce Jergenson 2, Riley Biesterfeld 2, Jordan Arbach 6, Jacob Zosel 7, Andrew Goulet 2, Nic Solvie 2, Eric Staebler 17; 3-point shots: Grove 2, Staebler 3, Zosel 1; Rebound leaders: Staebler 9, Grove 5; Assist leaders: Grove 4, Howden 3, Jergenson 3; Steal leaders: Howden 3; Blocks: Staebler 2

Brooke Kern

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