East too tough inside for Tigers

Published 1:38 pm Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mankato East showcased its outside shooting the first time Albert Lea faced the Cougar boys’ basketball, but Friday it was the inside game that dominated the Tigers in a 86-58 loss at Albert Lea High School.

Mankato East (3-14, 2-8) started strong in the first half, thanks in large part to Sam Onsomu.

Onsomu, a 6-foot-6 post player, controlled the glass for the Cougars and physically dominated Albert Lea inside. Onsomu led all scorers with 22 points and finished with 11 rebounds as the Tigers didn’t have an answer for his size and strength inside.

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“He was able to do pretty much what he wanted to do and get position where he wanted to get it and got a lot of offensive rebounds,” said Tigers head coach Chad Feikema. “He was not much of a factor the first time we played them, nor has he been a lot of their other games. He was a lot more assertive than we’ve seen from him playing other teams this year.”

Onsomu had 12 points when East defeated Albert Lea 63-52 Dec. 22 in Mankato.

In that game the Cougars hit 13 3-pointers to grab the win.

Onsomu had 13 points at halftime and his presence inside opened things on the perimeter for Alex Welter and Michael Bornholdt.

Welter was able find open jump shots and slash into the lane as he put up 21 points.

Bornholdt had a hot hand from 3-point range, hitting five 3-pointers on his way to 18 points on the night.

The game was one of the best chances the Tigers had of finding a conference win and Feikema was disappointed that the team didn’t put forth a better effort.

“The most disappointing things is we felt, coming in, that this was a game that we would have a chance to win and we really didn’t bring the passion and the intensity that we would hope we would have in a game like this,” Feikema said. “We just need to have more drive, more passion.”

The Tigers (1-16, 0-10) lacked focus early on and made errant passes and unforced turnovers in the first half as they fell behind 40-20 at halftime.

East took advantage of the turnovers and closed out the half on a 15-7 run.

“We struggle with attention to detail,” Feikema said. “Some of the things some of these guys have been learning for three or four years, we still don’t do. We still don’t execute some of the things that we need to do.”

One of those things has been stopping the ball.

“One of points of emphasis was that we needed to stop the basketball and that’s been a point of emphasis with our team for quite a while now,” Feikema said.

Colby Strilaeff led Albert Lea with 15 points, 12 of which came in the first half. Aaron Klatt finished with a season-high 12 points and also had six rebounds.

The Tigers shot 33 percent from the field while the Cougars shot 50 percent.

Albert Lea travel to Austin to face the Packers Tuesday.

Mankato East 86, Albert Lea 58

Mankato East 40 46 — 86

Albert Lea 20 38 — 58

Mankato East scoring: Sam Onsomu 22, Alex Welter 21, Michael Bornholdt 18, Luke McCabe 4, Travis Enter 4, Jordan Benesch 4, Ken King 3, Brady Dose 2, Dustin Lemke 2, Jimma Ruae 2.

Albert Lea scoring: Colby Strilaeff 15, Aaron Klatt 12, Damien Montes 8, Josh Eisenbraun 7, Alik Smed 6, Sean Templeman 4, Colton Zuniga 3, Brandon Antl 2, Silas Randall 1.