Albert Lea's Cody Scherff backs down a Rochester-Mayo defender during Friday night's game. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune
Albert Lea's Cody Scherff backs down a Rochester-Mayo defender during Friday night's game. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Lea falls to Rochester Mayo at home

Published 10:15pm Friday, February 7, 2014

Despite playing a solid first half, the Albert Lea boys’ basketball team held a three-point lead at halftime of Friday’s game, and that small advantage dissolved quickly in the second half.

The Tigers fell 62-57 against Rochester Mayo Friday in Albert Lea.

Jakob Kilby of Albert Lea scans the floor for a teammate Friday against Rochester Mayo in Albert Lea. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune
Jakob Kilby of Albert Lea scans the floor for a teammate Friday against Rochester Mayo in Albert Lea. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune

“We took really poor shots the entire second half,” said head coach Lucas Kreuscher. “You had guys forcing shots, and we never had any rhythm. That’s a credit to Mayo. But poor shot selection and not rebounding is a bad combination for us, and that was the game.”

After the Tigers took at 31-28 lead into the break.

Rochester Mayo stormed out of the gates in the second half and scored six straight points to take the lead. The Spartans extended that lead to more than 10 points before Albert Lea cut into it from beyond the arc late in the game.

“The second half was all about Mayo’s offensive rebounding,” Kreuscher said. “They killed us with 12 second-chance points. It was all about our lack of rebounding.”

Albert Lea extended the game by fouling, and cut the deficit to four points with seconds left, but Mayo sealed the deal when it picked up an offensive rebound on a missed free throw.

“That’s unacceptable,” Kreuscher said. “We’re better than what we showed tonight.”

The Tigers had 12 points in transition in the first half and none in the second half.

Dedoch Chan of Albert Lea drives the lane Friday at home against Rochester Mayo. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune
Dedoch Chan of Albert Lea drives the lane Friday at home against Rochester Mayo. — Drew Claussen/Albert Lea Tribune

“For us to play the way we need to play, we needed to get some run outs. Obviously we were struggling to score early in the second half, and you can’t get run outs without rebounds,” Kreuscher said. “Rebounding was really the biggest thing.”

Both teams played strong defense in the first half. Albert Lea held the lead throughout the first half. The Tigers were able to get position in the lane, but throughout the game few of their shots from inside dropped.

“We had our opportunities,” Kreuscher said. “We felt like our lead should have been a little bigger, but we were happy with our opportunities. If we make them, fine. If we miss them, fine. But in the second half we had none, and we just had no rhythm on offense in the second half.”

Albert Lea extended its lead by hitting two 3-pointers with about 5 minutes left in the first half, but Mayo was able to claw back and make it a three-point game.

“In the first half, we had 15 deflections on defense; In the second half, we only had four,” Kreuscher said. “So that tells us how active we were on defense. Not very active in the second half.”

Albert Lea (6-15 overall, 4-10 Big Nine Conference) will look to snap its three-game losing streak at 7:30 p.m. Monday at home against Waseca. The Bluejays (18-2 overall, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) are on a 10-game winning streak. Rochester Mayo is the only team from the Big Nine that Waseca played this year. The Bluejays won the nonconference game 64-57.