Late run lifts Falcons over Tigers

Published 9:51 pm Thursday, December 10, 2015

Albert Lea's Jake Thompson beats two Faribault defenders to the basket in transition Thursday at Albert Lea. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Lea’s Jake Thompson beats two Faribault defenders to the basket in transition Thursday at Albert Lea. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Despite shaving a nine-point second-half deficit to one point with 3:30 left in regulation, the Albert Lea boys’ basketball team’s comeback stalled.

Faribault overcame a technical foul for dunking in warmups and held off the Tigers’ rally to win 57-50 Thursday at Albert Lea.

“It wasn’t a lack of effort,” said Tigers coach Stan Thompson. “They want (to win) so bad, and my job is to teach them to stay calm and learn how to win. It’ll come.”

Email newsletter signup

Albert Lea (0-5, 0-5 Big Nine) was led by Jake Kilby, Jake Thompson and Denzel Acha.

Kilby posted a team-high 18 points to go with seven rebounds. Jake Thompson added 15 points and led the team with five assists and five steals. Acha led the Tigers on the glass with 12 boards to go with six points.

Jared Schmidt was a key contributor off the bench with seven points as Kilby and Jake Thompson had three fouls each in the first half.

“We had a little foul trouble, and that changed the tone a little,” Stan Thompson said. “I thought Jared played well. He knocked down a few shots. He was in there battling.”

Faribault (2-3, 2-2 Big Nine), a team that was 2-25 when this year’s seniors were sophomores, picked up its second conference win of the season after beating Rochester Century 67-59 on Dec. 4.

Albert Lea took a 2-0 lead when Jake Thompson drilled two free throws on the technical foul by Faribault before the game started. The Tigers’ last lead was 12-11 with nine minutes left in the first half after a 3-pointer by Jake Kilby.

To start the second half, Kilby hit another trey to cut Albert Lea’s deficit to three points, 27-24. However, Faribault responded by knocking down a 3-pointer of its own, getting a steal and knocking down another shot from beyond the arc to build a nine-point lead.

With less than four minutes left, Schmidt buried a 3-pointer to cut Albert Lea’s deficit to one point, 46-45. However, Faribault held off the Tigers with an 11-5 run to close out regulation.

Next, Albert Lea will play in a game that counts toward the Section 1AAA standings at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at Byron (4-2, 3-1 Hiawatha Valley).

Byron is coming off a 58-35 home win Thursday against Rochester Lourdes (5-3, 4-1 Hiawatha Valley). Along with the win over Rochester Lourdes, the Bears beat Simley, Triton and Cannon Falls and lost against St. Charles and Goodhue.

Albert Lea and Byron are not familiar opponents. The only other time the teams played each other in the last decade was Jan. 4, 2014, and the Bears won 64-35 at home.