Tigers drop game to Panthers as end of season draws near

Published 5:20 pm Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Albert Lea boys’ basketball team hosted Rochester Century Monday night with Albert Lea trying to hold on to the No. 4 seed in Section 1AAA.

The Tigers came out looking for retribution from an earlier home loss to the Panthers this season. However, a slow first half put the Tigers in a deficit they could not climb out of, eventually falling 70-50.

It was a highly mismatched first half of basketball. While the Tigers struggled to get open shots, the Panthers seemed to be unable to miss. By halftime, the Panthers had a commanding 43-17 lead.

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Albert Lea stepped up in the second half and nearly doubled its production from the first half. However, Century was never far behind and never let Albert Lea crawl back into the came.

Despite the Tigers outscoring the Panthers in the second half, it was not enough to make a dent in the Panthers’ 26-point halftime lead.

Senior JJ Mucha-Owens led the Tigers in scoring and steals with 16 points and two takeaways. Mucha-Owens also grabbed four rebounds. Senior Chay Guen led in boards with 11, while also adding 13 points and four assists. Senior Koby Hendrickson led in assists with five, while also contributing four points and eight rebounds.

Seniors Connor Veldman, Andrew Willner and Caden Gardner combined for 15 points. Freshman Pal Wal had two points and three rebounds, and junior Bhan Kuey had three rebounds.

The Tigers fall to 11-12 on the season and have one game remaining in the regular season. Friday they will take on the Packers of Austin in their second matchup of the year. The Tigers defeated the Packers 72-71 for the first time in over 10 years in their last meeting.

The Tigers are currently the No. 4 seed in the Section 1AAA and would host Simley in the first round of the tournament.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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