NRHEG boys rally past Maple River

Published 2:14pm Saturday, December 21, 2013

The New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva boys’ basketball team earned its second straight come-from-behind win by beating Maple River 65-56 Friday on the road.

The first half was controlled by Maple River, said NRHEG head coach Pat Churchill.

“Maple River came out with all the energy and toughness in the first half,” he said. “We played tight and let them dictate how the game was being played.”

The Eagles hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to take a 29-21 lead.

Early in the second half, Maple River extended its advantage to 11 points, but the Panthers fought back to tie the game at 33 with the shooting of Trevor Tracy and Oakley Baker, Churchill said.

NRHEG had a balanced offensive attack with four players in double figures. Baker tied Maple River’s Will Keller with a game-high 17 points. Spencer Tollefson and Tracy scored 15 points each, and Kevin Kalis had 11 points and eight rebounds.

Noah Krell didn’t score, but his presence was vital to the Panthers’s success, Churchill said.

“Kevin Kalis got two early fouls and Noah came in and played very physical defense on their big kid and kept us within striking distance,” he said. “I was really proud of how he played tonight.”

Churchill also mentioned that Tollefson held Maple River guard Jonah Breiter scoreless.

“That was huge,” he said.

NRHEG (6-0 overall, 3-0 Gopher Conference) will play next at 6:30 p.m. Thursday against St. Croix Lutheran at the Bethany Lutheran College tournament.

The Panthers’ first comeback win of the week was Tuesday at United South Central. NRHEG erased a 9-point deficit with less than four minutes in regulation to win 68-67.