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Tigers fall to top-ranked Dutchmen a second time

MORRIS – For the second time in a week, Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta fell to Melrose, Class AA’s top-ranked team, 64-44 on Thursday in a West Central North Conference game.

The loss, the Tigers’ third straight, eliminates any chance of a conference title. The Tigers dropped to 15-6 overall and 10-3 in the WCC.

Melrose improved to 10-0 in the league and 21-1 overall. The Dutchmen have won 18 in a row.

Melrose faces WCN contender, Sauk Centre next week. The Mainstreeters are a game behind Melrose at 9-1 in the conference and they are 14-4 overall.

“Although the margin of victory was about the same, this one had a much different tone to it as defense was much more the theme,” explained Tiger coach Mark Torgerson. “The Tigers actually did a pretty good job of holding down the high scoring Dutchmen, but couldn't generate enough offense to overtake Melrose.

“The Dutchmen also showed they were capable of playing good defense and weren't just all about offense,” added Torgerson. “Melrose held the Tigers to 39 percent shooting and outrebounded the Tigers 33-22.

“The Tigers managed to hold down Melrose in this contest with a better defensive effort, using a zone and trying to concentrate their efforts on stopping Scottie Stone,” said Torgerson. “Still, the 6-foot-4 senior guard managed to score 28 points and nailed four three-point baskets to lead his team in the win. No doubt the Tigers’ effort was much better than a week ago, but MACA managed just 17 field goals for the entire game.

“After the Tigers scored on their initial possession to take a 2-0 lead, the Dutchmen slowly gained the lead. A key moment came late in the half when the Tigers had closed the gap to 28-20 and Melrose was forced to use a time out. The Tigers actually got the ball back in the final 90 seconds of the half, but failed to capitalize and they turned the ball over and Melrose finished out the half with four straight points to lead 32-20 at halftime.

“The Tigers had no choice to open up their deliberate style offense in the second half and they made a few runs at Melrose, but each time Stone and his teammates had the answers to hold off any home crowd momentum.

“Jacob Torgerson sank all three of this three-point baskets in the second half and Chandler Erickson tallied five more points, but that was about all the offense the Tigers could muster in this one.”

Austin Dierks led the Tigers in scoring with 14 points, 12 of those coming in the first half.

“Down the stretch, the Tigers were forced out of their zone defense by the scoreboard and although they made a late run, Melrose was able to keep their comfortable margin of victory. Besides the 28 points by Stone, guard Isaac Sawyer tallied 12 points and played a terrific floor game. Mitch Niehaus added eight points and helped the Dutchmen control the rebounding edge for the night.”

Erickson led the Tigers in assists with six, while Tom Holland led in steals with two. Dierks had a team-high eight rebounds with Nic Vipond tallying five boards.

The Tigers now have three straight road games starting with a non-conference clash on Saturday night with Breckenridge on the road. The game is part of a boy/girl doubleheader with B and C squad action starting at 3 p.m. The girls’ game begins at 6 p.m. and the boys play at 7:30 p.m.

Melrose 64, Morris/C-A 44

Melrose 32 32 — 62

Morris/C-A 20 24 — 44

MORRIS/CHOKIO-ALBERTA – 17-44 FG (4-13 3-pt); 6-9 FT; 22 rebounds; 17 fouls; Scoring: Nic Vipond 6, Logan Manska 1, Jacob Torgerson 9, Austin Dierks 14, Chandler Erickson 8, John Tiernan 6; 3-point shots: Torgerson 3, Erickson 1; Rebounds: Dierks 8, Vipond 5, Lincoln Berget 2, Torgerson 2, Dillon McNally 1, Manska 1, Erickson 1, Tiernan 1, Marcus Cannon 1; Assists: Erickson 6, Tom Holland 2, Tyler Henrichs 1, Berget 1, Manska 1, Tiernan1; Steals: Tom Holland 2, Dierks 2, Vipond 1, Berget 1, Manska 1, Dierks 1

MELROSE – 22-52 FG (7-19 3-pt); 13-18 FT; 33 rebounds; 8 fouls; Scoring: Seth Noll 6, Isaac Sawyer 12, Ryan Elfering 5, Scottie Stone 28, Mitch Reller 5, Mitch Niehaus 8; 3-point shots: Stone 4, Noll 2, Elfering 1; Rebound leaders: Reller 12, Niehaus 7; Steal leaders: Sawyer 3, Reller 3