Mankato East takes control in second half against Tigers

Published 3:08 am Saturday, February 20, 2010

For one half the Albert Lea boys’ basketball team executed its game plan against Mankato East, but couldn’t duplicate the same kind of effort in the second half.

In the first half the Tigers limited Mankato East to one shot on most possessions and held the Cougars off the offensive glass, but in the second half Mankato East started controlling the interior and pulled away from Albert Lea for a 60-43 victory Friday at Albert Lea High School.

“They just pounded us on the boards,” said Tigers head coach Lucas Kreuscher. “They were a lot more aggressive. We didn’t put a body on anybody and allowed ourselves to get pushed around out of position.”

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Brody Ziegler took advantage for the Cougars (11-10, 8-6 Big Nine) down low and finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds as he seemed in position for offensive rebounds throughout the second half. Ziegler scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half.

While Ziegler picked up the offensive rebounds Alex Welter hit shots from the outside. Welter hit four 3-pointers and led the Cougars with 17 points to help break down the Tigers’ 2-3 zone.

“We’ve had some grind-out games, which we like, which we want, but we have to learn how to score,” Kreuscher said.

Albert Lea (3-16, 1-12 Big Nine) hung around in the second half and closed to within five with 14 minutes to play. But Kyle Ooms picked up his fourth foul on Mankato East’s next trip down the floor and the Tigers struggled to find scoring.

With Ooms on the bench the Cougars started a 15-7 run to grab a 13-point lead with less than six minutes to play.

Colby Strilaeff led Albert Lea with 20 points and hit four 3-pointers and Ooms finished with 11 points despite sitting on the bench for an extended period in the second half.

The Tigers committed just 10 turnovers in the game, but Mankato’s East dominance in the paint in the second half proved the difference.

The Cougars post players scored 22 points in the second half and grabbed 31 rebounds in the game, compared to just 18 for Albert Lea.

The Tigers play at Rochester Tuesday against Mayo and Friday against Austin in Albert Lea.

Mankato East 60, Albert Lea 43

Mankato East 22 38 — 60

Albert Lea 16 27 — 43

Mankato East scoring: Alex Welter 17, Brody Ziegler 16, Sam Onsomu 11, Brett Olson 6, Jordan Benesh 4, Ken King 3, BeePee Pajibo 2, Brady Dose 1.

Albert Lea scoring: Colby Strilaeff 20, Kyle Ooms 11, Damian Montes 5, Aaron Klatt 3, Alik Smed 2, Cam Solie 2.