Vikings crush Wildcats

Published 10:50 pm Friday, January 23, 2015

Mason Olson of Northwood-Kensett shoots a 3-pointer Friday against Riceville at Northwood. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Mason Olson of Northwood-Kensett shoots a 3-pointer Friday against Riceville at Northwood. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

NORTHWOOD — Consistent shooting from all over the court and a change on defense turned the tables for the Northwood-Kensett boys’ basketball team.

The Vikings flipped a 15-10 deficit into a 35-15 lead. That 25-0 run launched Northwood-Kensett to a 70-39 win Friday over Riceville at Northwood.

Riceville’s early lead was built with points from taking advantage of man-to-man defense and breaking the Vikings’ press, so Northwood-Kensett coach Marty Cotter decided to make a change.

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“I thought that we could play that zone that we’ve been playing, take our chances and let them shoot a little more from the outside,” he said. “And it worked.”

While the Wildcats settled for outside shots in the second quarter, the Vikings’ shot chart was peppered with marks under the basket.

“I looked at our shot chart at halftime, and probably 80 percent of our shots were layups, and we were 4-for-4 from 3,” Cotter said. “That all added to the flurry.”

Northwood-Kensett shot 6-of-10 from beyond the arc and 57 percent from the field in the game at its completion.

Josh Einertson led the Vikings with 30 points. He was 13-of-16 from the field, 2-of-3 from 3-point range and 2-of-3 from the free-throw line.

Mason Olson posted a team-high eight assists from the point.

Cotter said Einertson and Olson as a duo are arguably the best guard tandem in the Corn Bowl Conference. Einertson’s 19.9 points per game is second in the conference, and Olson’s 87 assists not only lead the conference but are tied for fourth in Class 1A.

“They compliment each other extremely well,” Cotter said. “They’re just two tough competitive kids.”

Einertson said he and Olson climbed their way to the varsity ranks together.

“We’ve been playing together since fourth grade, and we’ve been playing AAU-ball together,” Einertson said. “You get to the point where you kinda know what each other likes to do.”

Einertson was one of four Vikings who scored in double figures. Justin Read added 12 points; Tom Fick and Tom Yezek had 10 each. Fick is second on the team with an average of 11.8 points per game. Yezek averages seven points per game and is tied with Fick for the most rebounds on the team, 66. Read averages 10.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

“Team chemistry is coming together, and we just need to keep working hard and getting better,” Einertson said.

Look for results from Northwood-Kensett’s game Saturday against West Central in Monday’s Tribune.

Next, Northwood-Kensett (6-5 overall) will play at North Butler (5-7 overall) at 7:45 p.m. North Butler started 0-5 but has won five of its last seven.