The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

December 29, 2012

Maple River wins Pepsi Holiday Tournament

MANKATO — Maple River’s balanced offensive attack and improved effort on the glass in the second half fueled a 66-62 win over Fairmont Saturday night in the championship game of Pepsi Holiday Tournament at Bethany Lutheran College’s Sports and Fitness Center

Five Eagles — Ben Larson, Michael Lewis, Jaron Denn, Zach Krengel and Brian Doering — hit for double digits to offset junior guard Mitch Pfingsten’s 23-point burst for Fairmont.

“We knew we weren’t going to be able to do it one on one,” said Lewis, who finished with a team-best 14 points. “Jaron has been our leading scorer all year, but sometimes others have to step up and help out, too.

“I thought early on in the second half we showed were ready to go and get after it on the boards. You know Pfingsten is going to get his points. You just have to get a hand in his face, and hopefully you can get him to miss enough”

Pfingsten fired in 16 first-half points to keep the Cardinals within 37-32 at the break. Larson, a senior guard, tallied 10 points for the Eagles, including a 3-point play off a twisting drive and a long-range 3-pointer.

Maple River (7-2) stretched its lead to 51-39 on Denn’s right-wing triple with 11:46 remaining. However, Pfingsten’s three-point play, a 3-pointer and a 10-footer from Lukas Hested sparked a surge that enable the Cardinals to draw even at 53 on Pfingsten’s 12-foot runner with 3:39 to go.

Denn, who ended up with 12 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals, then buried a right-side 3-pointer, and Doering put though a pair of inside baskets. Lewis’ pull-up 3 stretched the lead before three foul shots from Lewis sealed things.

“We had to  use all of our players tonight,” Maple River coach Chad Ostermann said. “They did a good job of switching man to man, so some of our sets didn’t work like they normally do. We had different guys step up, and that’s a tribute to how deep our team is.

“Rebounding was a point of emphasis for us at halftime. I thought they hustled and scrapped a little better than us in the first half, especially on the boards.”

Fairmont held a slight 29-28 rebounding advantage and committed more turnovers, 13-10. Maple River connected on 26 of 50 from the field compared to the Cardinals’ 22 of 47.

“I just looked for opportunities to either go to the rack or hit and open outside shot,” Lewis said. “Sometimes Jaron needs help scoring and we had quite a few guys step up tonight.”

Krengel scored 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Eagles, who play Thursday at home against St. Clair.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Outdoors

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Tour Confidential: What Impact Will Tiger's Absence Have on Golf? Pujols joins 500 club Wall: 'This was a make or break year for me' Klatt's Mock Draft: Top 10 Klatt's Mock Draft: Late 1st round Marcus Spears: Cowboys Needs on Draft Day Could Bridgewater Make Scouts Look Foolish? NFL Draft: Will Manziel Be Off The Board By Pick No. 4? Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes Race to avoid Premier League relegation heats up The many faces of Mike Woodson Draft Preview: Ego Ferguson Chelsea, Atletico set to do battle in Champions League With The Twelfth Pick, The New York Giants Select... Rosenthal: Trout's contract was a compromise Trail Blazers battle back, overcome Rockets in OT Martinez slams home run to help Tigers top Angels With The Thirteenth Pick, The St. Louis Rams Select... Knicks Fire Mike Woodson Dramatic Moments of the Week: 4/14-4/20