The unofficial battle for Stevens County was as competitive as advertised.
The Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta Tiger boys basketball team edged its nearby rival Hancock in a 79-77 nailbiter Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Cougar Sports Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota Morris thanks to a big night by senior leader Camden Arndt. Arndt led all scorers with 29 points, knocking down 12 of his 16 shots, and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Entering the game it was clear long-range shooting would be a deciding factor but it was the Tigers, rather than the typically sharpshooting Owls, who got hot from distance. The Tigers shot 52 percent from beyond the arc, including a combined 12 triples from Arndt, Jaret Johnson and Thomas Tiernan. Johnson finished with 18 points and seven boards while Tiernan added 14 points.
The Owls kept freshman center Jackson Loge quiet for the Tigers, holding him to six points, but Loge left an impact nonetheless. He finished with 11 assists and seven rebounds.
Hancock stuck with Morris/C-A the entire way, trailing by just one point at halftime. Bennett Ninehaus and Cole Reese provided the firepower, scoring 24 and 23 points, respectively. Nienhaus added five steals while Cole and Connor Reese each recorded seven assists. Peyton Rohloff also had a strong game, scoring eight points with a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Tigers, who bounced back from a loss to Melrose Friday, Feb. 8, improved to 11-8 on the season. The Owls fell to 13-4, but got back to winning with a win over Wheaton/Herman-Norcross Monday Feb. 11, in Wheaton.
Morris/C-A 79, Hancock 77
Hancock (13-4) 32 45 - 77
Morris/C-A (11-8) 33 46 - 79
HANCOCK - Scoring: Bennett Nienhaus 24, Cole Reese 23, Connor Reese 14, Peyton Rohloff 8, Preston Rohloff 4, Brandon Kellenberger 2, Daniel Milander 2 ... 3-point shots: Cole Reese 5, Connor Reese 2, Nienhaus 2 ... Rebound leader: Peyton Rohloff 10 ... Assist leader: Cole Reese 7, Connor Reese 7 ... Steal leader: Nienhaus 5, Connor Reese 3
MORRIS AREA/CHOKIO-ALBERTA - Scoring: Joseph Kleinwolterink 2, Zach Hughes 8, Camden Arndt 29, Jackson Loge 6, Durgin Decker 2, Jaret Johnson 18, Thomas Tiernan 14 ... 3-point shots: Hughes 1, Arndt 4, Johnson 4, Tiernan 4 ... Rebound leader: Arndt 8, Loge 7, Johnson 7 ... Assist leader: Loge 11 ... Steal leader: Tiernan 1