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Tigers clip Lakers in final seconds

Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta Tiger junior Andrew Goulet makes a crisp pass for one of his six assists in the conference match-up against Minnewaska on Tuesday, Jan. 7. (Brooke Kern/Sun Tribune)1 / 2
Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta Tiger Noah Grove goes aerial and finds CJ Nagel open under the hoop during the first half action against visiting Minnewaska on Tuesday, Jan. 7. (Brooke Kern/Sun Tribune)2 / 2

The Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta boys clipped the Minnewaska Lakers in the final seconds of a conference matchup in Morris on Tuesday, Jan. 7. Thanks to a late steal by Jacob Zosel, the Tigers won their third straight game 50-48.

Sophomore 6-foot-3 center Eric Staebler produced his seventh double double of the year with game-high 23 points and 18 rebounds. Noah Grove added 14 points and had three blocks, and Andrew Goulet dished out six assists in the Tiger win over visiting Minnewaska.

The Lakers had three players score in double figures: Jayden Beecher with 16, Austin VerSteeg 12 and Matt McIver 10.

A three point buzzer beater by Grove sent the Tigers into the locker room trailing 29-24 at halftime. By halftime, Staebler already hit double digits with 13 points.

Out of the half, the Tigers came out fired up and ready to take the lead. The Tigers put the pressure on defensively, grabbing rebounds, forcing turnovers while going on a 9-2 run offensively in the opening seven minutes of the second half, taking the lead 33-31 with just over 12 minutes to play. The Lakers took back the lead 34-33 after Matt McIver hit a top of the key three pointer.

After that the Tigers started to pull away getting two back-to-back baskets by Staebler and Grove, forcing a Minnewaska timeout and taking a 37-34 lead. Out of the timeout, the Lakers still couldn’t make a shot, except for McIver who hit another three. The Tigers continued their run and took a lead as large as nine coming close to the six minute mark.

The Tigers lessened up the pressure on defense, and Minnewaska took full advantage. The Lakers went on a 9-1 run in the final four minutes to close the lead to one point with the Tigers ahead 49-48 with 30 seconds left. The Lakers anticipated the pass inside to get the ball back, then quickly calling a timeout to set up a play. A wasted 20 seconds by Minnewaska, the Lakers had to call another timeout with under 10 seconds left in the game to try to set up a last chance basket. Out of the timeout, Zosel grabs the ball away from Minnewaska, gets fouled and goes to the free throw line where he hits the front end of his 1-and-1 chance, securing the Tiger victory 50-48.

The Tigers host Montevideo on Friday, Jan. 10. The Tigers took a beating at the hands of the Thunderhawks in the second game of the season, but Friday nights match up will not be as easy for Montevideo as the Tigers hope to ride their strong play as of late for a close, exciting game.

Morris/C-A 50, Minnewaska 48

Minnewaska 29 19 — 48

Morris/C-A 24 26 — 50

MINNEWASKA – 19-57 FG (3-15 3-pt); 7-14 FT; 23 rebounds; 14 fouls; Scoring: Riley Thompson 2, Matt McIver 10, Austin Ostrander 5, Austin VerSteeg 12, Jayden Beecher 16, Thor Erickson 3; 3-point shots: McIver 2, Beecher 1; Rebound leaders: VerSteeg 8; Assist leaders: McIver 3, Beecher 3; Steal leaders: VerSteeg 4, McIver 3; Blocks: Ostrander 3

MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA – 20-42 FG (2-5 3-pt); 8-14 FT; 30 rebounds; 14 fouls; Scoring: Noah Grove 14, Riley Biesterfeld 4, Jacob Zosel 5, Andrew Goulet 4, Eric Staebler 23; 3-point shots: Staebler 1, Grove 1; Rebound leaders: Staebler 18; Assist leaders: Goulet 6; Steal leaders: Grove 2, Goulet 2; Blocks: Grove 3

Brooke Kern

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