Tigers fall in finals

Published 12:28 am Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Albert Lea’s Alik Smed attempts a layup during the second half Tuesday at Albert Lea High School. The Tigers lost to Hayfield 61-52 in the finals of the ninth annual Tiger Classic basketball tournament. -- Andrew Dyrdal

The Albert Lea boys’ basketball team hasn’t won the Tiger Classic since 2004 when they won for the second time in the annual tournament’s first three years.

They looked on pace Tuesday to capture the elusive first-place trophy until an 11-0 Hayfield Vikings (6-1) run midway through the second half put the game out of reach, and the Tigers (2-3) again settled for second place, falling 61-52.

“Offensively it was unacceptable,” Tigers head coach Lucas Kreuscher said. “A team that’s significantly smaller than us outscored us in the paint.”

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The Tigers led 24-21 at halftime and gave up just five points through the game’s first nine minutes.

They were outscored 56-41 the rest of the way.

“We took a bit of our poor offensive night and didn’t focus defensively,” Kruescher said.

The Vikings opened the second half on a 4-0 run at took a 25-24 lead until a Kyle Ooms layup put Albert Lea back on top 26-25.

The two teams traded leads until the Vikings’ Dillon Wagner hit a 3-pointer at the top of the key and gave Hayfield the lead for good 32-30.

The Tigers came as close as four points a number of times with less than two minutes remaining in the game but the Vikings made their final four free throws to keep Albert Lea at arms length.

Ooms led the Tigers with 12 points 10 rebounds and Tyler Wichmann added 11 points and nine rebounds. Aaron Klatt and Cameron Hove each chipped in 10 points.

The Tigers play again at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Owatonna (5-0, 2-0 Big Nine).