No. 1-ranked West rolls against Tigers

Published 1:28 pm Saturday, January 31, 2009

When facing the No. 1 team in Class 3A, getting the most out of your offense becomes important because good looks at the basket may be few.

The Albert Lea boys’ basketball team struggled with its shot selection Friday against No. 1-ranked Mankato West in a 77-34 loss in Albert Lea while also allowing the Scarlets free reign in the paint.

Mankato West shot 67 percent from the field, largely due to offensive rebounding and transition baskets. The Tigers (1-14, 0-8) shot 30 percent from the field and went 2-for-16 from 3-point range.

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“The biggest thing with me is we took some poor shots on the offensive end that we were kind of quick and led to them being able to get into transition,” said Albert Lea head coach Chad Feikema. “They had a lot of points in transition and a lot of points on offensive rebounds, more so than anything they did in the halfcourt.”

With their size and muscle, the Scarlets grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, many of which quickly became two points. Mankato West finished with 44 rebounds in the game. The Tigers had 21 rebounds.

“They’re an athletic team. They’re quick, they run well, they’re physically strong. They’re just very good athletes,” Feikema said. “Once they decided to in the first half to really attack the offensive boards we had a really difficult time keeping them off.”

The Scarlets (15-1, 9-0) were missing leading scorer Ray Teachout, who was out because of a broken nose, but still managed to get four players in double figures.

Matt Briggs led Mankato West with 14 points, most of which came off offensive rebounding. Briggs had five offensive rebounds in the game.

Preston Brunz scored 13 points in the first half alone, hitting three 3-pointers and 6-foot-4 Andy Richter and 6-foot-7 Andrew Sathoff both finished with 10 points.

Albert Lea did make a game of it early with its aggressiveness in the first half.

Colby Strilaeff, who finished with 13 points to lead the Tigers, drained a jumper to make the game 15-14 in favor of West with 10 minutes to go in the first half, but West close out the half on a 29-5 run.

“I was really pleased with how we started the game,” Feikema said. “I felt we played aggressively offensively and we did a pretty nice job defensively, both when we played man and when we started playing zone early.”

Strilaeff and Sean Templeman attacked the Scarlet defense with drives into the lane. Templeman finished with 10 points, his second consecutive game in double figures.

The aggressiveness displayed in the first half has been an element the Tigers have wanted to add in recent games.

“We talked in the pregame and in practice the last couple of days about being wanting to be aggressive while at the same time maintaining our patience and making good decisions,” Feikema said. “We were able to maintain our aggressiveness, but we were not able to maintain patience and make good decisions in terms of what kind of shots we were going to take.”

Quick possessions during the rest of the half allowed the Scarlets to starting running the court and they were tough to stop in the open court.

In the second half Albert Lea remained impatient on offense and West continued to get easy transition layups.

Feikema said the team has shown improvement in recent games, but still has yet to play a complete game.

“We haven’t put together an entire 36 minutes yet,” he said.

The Tigers face

Mankato West 77, Albert Lea 34

Mankato West 44 33 — 77

Albert Lea 19 14 — 34

Mankato West scoring: Matt Briggs 14, Preston Brunz 13, Aaron Richter 10, Andrew Sathoff 10, Mac Guhlke 6, Ben Dobson 5, Alex Hasse 5, Mike Richter 4, Ethan Tramp 3, Phil Nelson 3, Nick Kaus 2, Drrick Cattrysse 2.

Albert Lea scoring: Colby Strilaeff 13, Sean Templeman 10, Woody Dahl 6, Alik Smed 4, Brandon Antl 1.