The Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta Tiger boys basketball team pulled out a nail biter, 65-63, in a game against a familiar foe, Redwood Valley, on Thursday, Jan. 27, at the Tiger Center in Morris.
The Tigers led 62-61 in the closing seconds when Loge found Brandon Jergenson all alone under the basket for an easy layup to put the Tigers up 64-61. After a defensive stop, Loge grabbed the rebound and was fouled, hitting one-of-two from the line to seal the win.
“Always a nail biter,” Redwood coach Aaron Lindahl said after the game. “The last five games (between MACA and Redwood) have been decided by five or less points.”
The Tigers held a 34-31 halftime lead and pushed the lead to double digits in the second half before Redwood Valley came back within striking distance.
“They made a nice run in the second half to get up double digits by 12 or 13. Couple bad turnovers by us and blown defensive assignments left guys open (for MACA),” Lindahl said. “Our guys did a nice job of not panicking and sharing the ball and we finally knocked down some open looks. Just put ourselves behind the 8-ball getting down 13 then ran out of time.”
Senior Jackson Loge had a huge night with 28 points and 20 rebounds. Durgin Decker added 14 with four assists, and Brandon Jergenson dished out five assists for the Tigers, who move to 17-0.
“We’ve had a target on our backs all season,” senior Jackson Loge said of the talented roster that returned for MACA in November.
The Tigers continue to prove that they can handle that extra pressure.
“It’s more important to play our best basketball in the playoffs,” Loge said of being undefeated. “It would be nice to end the regular season undefeated, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to win the state championship.”
The Tigers now get a little six-day break after playing about three games per week since opening 2022. They next play Saturday, Feb. 5 against Osakis, at Alexandria High School. The Silverstreaks are 14-2, winning 11 straight games to open 2022, and are ranked 13th in the state in Class 2A, playing in Section 6AA.