Rockets defeat Tigers
Published 9:29 pm Tuesday, January 27, 2015
A fiery start by the Albert Lea boys’ basketball team was extinguished with a 10-0 run to start the second half by the second-place team in the Big Nine Conference standings.
Dedoch Chan led the Tigers with 22 points on Tuesday, but Rochester John Marshall defeated Albert Lea 78-53.
In the first half, the Tigers built a 14-13 lead with a pair of 3-pointers by Jake Thompson, but the Rockets responded with back-to-back 3-pointers followed by a transition layup.
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John Marshall’s lead was pushed to nine points at the two-minute mark, but Chan connected from beyond the arc to cut Albert Lea’s deficit to six.
However, the Rockets doubled their lead in the last 49 seconds to take a 38-26 advantage into the locker room.
Albert Lea coach Lucas Kreuscher paralleled the turnovers that led to transition opportunities for John Marshall to the team’s deficit.
“We gave up 12 points in transition in the first half, and we were down 12 at halftime,” he said. “We said going into the game it was going to be about passing. You turn it over on a team like John Marshall, it’s going to be two points going the other way.”
Kreuscher said the gamplan was to force the Rockets into their half-court set, which was where the Tigers found success in the first half.
With about eight minutes left in regulation, John Marshall’s lead expanded to 30 points, and Albert Lea’s reserves took the floor.
“The guys who finished out the game, I was really happy to see them hustle and get on the floor,” Kreuscher said. “I thought they rebounded well. I thought they played good and scrappy. They did some nice things.”
Tanner Wichmann led the Tigers off the bench with seven points, a rebound, an assist and a steal.
Kreuscher said he platooned reserves to keep his starters fresh.
“We play three games this week (in four days), and we’ve got some guys who have logged a ton of minutes,” he said. “Also, we have some guys who need some experience on the varsity level.”
Rochester John Marshall was led by Matthew and Michael Hurt who scored 12 points each at halftime. The Rockets (13-5, 11-3 Big Nine Conference) are .500 in their last eight games after starting 9-1. The only team with a better conference record is No. 3 Class AAA Red Wing (16-3, 13-2 Big Nine Conference).
Next, Albert Lea (0-18, 0-15 Big Nine Conference) will host Mason City (2-12) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
Minnesota teams like Glenville-Emmons regularly play teams on the Iowa side of the border like Northwood-Kensett and Lake Mills. Kreuscher is a former player for Lake Mills. After a few years of attempting to get a matchup against Mason City, the two teams found a date that worked, Kreuscher said.
“It just worked out that we could play this year,” he said. “I thought it would be good to play somebody different, since we’ve played so many conference games.”
The Tigers will finish the week at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Red Wing.