PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Second-half burst sets the tone for Minneota in 78-58 win over Adrian

Photo by Emily Daniels Minneota’s Jared Josephson brings the ball upcourt during their game against Adrian on Monday. The Vikings defeated the Dragons 78-58.

MINNEOTA – There were signs early on in the first half of the Minneota and Adrian boys basketball game that indicated a close finish. The Vikings and Dragons went into the halftime break tied at 34, with both sides looking for that second-half push to gain leverage. Minneota was the one who earned that leverage, as the Vikings outscored the Dragons 44-24 in the final half to take a 78-58 victory on Monday night.

Coming off the win, coach Dave Busselman knows that there are still somethings he would like to see as they go into their last few games of the season but one of the strengths he saw out there was the teams rebounding.

“We didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight but the strengths from the game that I noticed was the rebounding,” said Busselman. “We gave up too many points but we kept doing what we had to do and we executed very well but we couldn’t make the shots for a little bit. This time of the season we want to be a little more crisper than we were tonight but our rebounding was our biggest strength.”

It didn’t take Adrian long to find the first lead of the night but the Vikings took that advantage right back from the Dragons to take a 7-5 lead with 14:50 remaining in the opening half. The score wasn’t threatening enough for the Vikings to take it easy on the court as both teams found themselves at a tie, but with a big drive from Logan Sussner, Minneota went back on top with a one-point lead at 10-9. The Dragons fought the Vikings on both ends to keep the score tie things back up at 14-14 but Minneota didn’t let that hold for long as Jacob Hennen showed strong offensive moves under the basket that helped bring the Vikings to a 21-14 lead with 10:57 left in the first half.

After the Vikings took the steady lead on the Dragons they continued to show their strengths on both ends of the court, which was highlighted by strong rebounding. The Vikings’ control on the glass was one of the biggest strengths that helped them remain dominate on both ends of the floor. Minneota started to find itself with a bigger lead at 25-18 but the Dragons responded with a run of their own to close the gap to four points. It didn’t take long for Adrian to find itself just one point behind the Vikings at 26-25 with 6:35 left on the clock, but Minneota didn’t let the small lead get into their heads and continued to play the game they knew. Adrian came back and found a basket to tie the score back up at 27-27 with 4:47 to play in the first before taking the lead back with a couple more baskets to go up four, 31-27. With the Vikings’ shots not connecting over the last few minutes, they needed something to get themselves back into the game. Nolan Boerboom was the answer that Minneota was looking for with a basket that closed the gap to 34-31, before a 3-pointer from Jacob Hennen tied up the score at 34-34 to go into halftime.

The second half started off aggressive for both teams, where one small run could become the difference maker. Thomas Hennen started it off with a basket for the Vikings to put them up with a 36-34 lead. Minneota continued to hold its lead, but Adrian would hit a 3-pointer to close the gap to two points with 14:44 left on the clock. Thomas Hennen became a big asset for the Vikings in the second half as he helped Minneota find a bigger lead over Adrian by going on a five-point run to make the score 44-37.

After a drought in the first half of not hitting shots, Minneota found its groove in the second half that gave itself a big advantage on the offensive end of the court. That was the opposite effect for the Dragons as they saw miscommunicated passes that led to multiple turnovers and an even bigger Vikings lead at 51-42 with 11:28 remaining in the game. Sussner remained focused throughout the entirety of the game as he was a key to the Vikings rebounding efforts in both halves, but in the second he helped Minneota keep possessions alive with multiple offensive boards. Minneota continued to show stronger signs of domination on the court as it took a 10-point lead over the Dragons but Adrian wasn’t done yet, as the Dragons cut it to single digits again at 59-51 with 7:11 left to play. Minneota responded quickly with an 11-point run of its own to push its lead back to 17 at 70-53 with four minutes remaining on the clock. The Vikings never looked back for the remainder of the half with Thomas Hennen hitting another 3-pointer which gave Minneota its biggest lead of the night at 22. The rest of the half saw the Vikings showing their big strengths on both sides of the court which led them to a 78-58 win over Adrian.

The Vikings were led by Jacob Hennen, who racked in a total of 21 points followed by Thomas Hennen with 18 and also brought in the Vikings only two blocks. Minneota shot 9 of 16 at the free-throw line and 31 of 74 for total shots.

Going into their last few games of the season, Busselman wants to see the team improve more defensively and bring the energy back onto the court.

“We need to get better defensively and we’ve got some big games coming up,” said Busselman. “And we’re trying to get into that grind to execute better and play with a little bit more energy because tonight we didn’t have that much energy with us.”

The Vikings will be back in action on the road against Lakeview on Thursday.

Adrian 34 24-58

Minneota 34 44-78

SCORING: Minneota 31-74, 41.9 percent (J. Hennen 8-17, 2-4, 21; T. Hennen 8-18, 0-0 18; Sussner 3-15, 6-7 12; Boerboom 4-10, 0-3 8; I. Hennen 4-7, 0-0 8; Josephson 2-4, 1-2 6; Sorensen 2-3, 0-0 5).

3-POINT FGS: Minneota 7-25, 28 percent (J. Hennen 3; T. Hennen 2; Josephson, Sorensen 1).

REBOUNDS: Minneota 35 (Sussner 10; J. Hennen 8; Boerboom, I. Hennen 6; T. Hennen 4; Josephson 1).

ASSISTS: Minneota 18 (J. Hennen, T. Hennen 4; Josephson, Boerboom, I. Hennen 3; Sussner 1).

STEALS: Minneota 10 (J . Hennen 3; Sorensen, Sussner 2).

BLOCKS: Minneota 2 (T. Hennen).

FOULS: Minneota 16.

TURNOVERS: Minneota 11.