PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Sting edge Panthers with late run, 41-33

Photo by Brennen Rupp YME’s Trent Skjefte shoots a jumper during their game against TMB on Thursday. The Sting defeated the Panthers 41-33.

TRACY – Shooters got to shoot. That’s a saying a basketball coach will say over and over again. The best way for a shooter to get out of a coldspell is to shoot his way out of it. That’s exactly what Yellow Medicine East’s Bennett Knapper did Thursday night.

The junior guard was 1 of 8 from beyond the arc and had just airballed his previous shot from long range. That didn’t deter Knapper from firing up another 3-pointer with his team trailing Tracy-Milroy-Balaton, 33-32 with less than two minutes to play in the game. Knapper’s confidence in himself gave the Sting a 35-33 lead and proved to be the turning point of the game as the Sting went on to win 41-33.

“He’s a very good shooter,” YME coach Jake Suter said. “He’s been a little cold the last couple nights out. I was really glad that when it was time for him to stick one he did.”

Knapper’s clutch 3-pointer was part of a 14-0 Sting run to close out the game. With the Panthers holding a 33-27 lead the Sting started to make key basket after key basket, while coming up with defensive stops.

“We were happy with the way we took care of the basketball,” Suter said. “I think we ended up with 10 turnovers for the game. I don’t think we had any in the last few possessions there, which was key. The ball started to go through the hole a little bit and we made enough free throws at the end.”

The Panthers scored in a blink of an eye to start the game. Moses Dolan took the opening tip and quickly scored to give the Panthers the early lead.

Following the Dolan basket the two teams struggled to find their footing on the offensive end of the court. The next basket came at the 13:10 mark with Carter Sneller getting the Sting on the board.

With the game tied at four the Panthers went on a 9-0 run to open up a 13-4 lead. A Dolan 3-pointer capped off the 9-0 run. Knapper quickly answered back with a 3-pointer of his own to end the TMB run.

At the half the Panthers led the Sting 17-14. Dolan led the Panthers with seven points at the half.

YME opened the scoring in the second half off a Trent Skjefte basket to trim TMB’s lead to 17-16. Dolan quickly answered to put the Panthers back up by three. Unfortunately for Dolan that would be his last points of the night.

Following Dolan’s basket the Sting went on a 6-0 run to take their first lead of the game at 22-20. With the Sting holding a 27-25 lead the Panthers went on an 8-0 run to take a 33-27 lead. That’s when the Sting answered back by closing the game out on a 14-0 run to pick up their first win of the season.

Sneller recorded a double-double for the Sting, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Sneller also dished out six assists and recorded four steals.

“I was really happy with the way he rebounded the ball,” Suter said. “TMB came out with some aggressive guys underneath. He rebounded well and secured the ball. He hit some big shots for us as well.”

Dolan finished the game with nine points and six rebounds for the Panthers. Fritz Landherr finished with seven points and grabbed nine rebounds. Michael Munson scored seven points.

With the win the Sting are now 1-5 overall. Suter said he’s looking forward to seeing how his team builds off this win.

“We have to make more baskets,” Suter said. “We have to get cleaner on the offensive end. I really liked our defensive effort. We have to keep that up.”

With the loss the Panthers are now 1-6 and have lost five straight. They’ll look to break back into the win column on Dec. 29, against Heron Lake-Okabena.

YME 14-27-41

TMB 17-16-33

SCORING: YME (Sneller 10; Knapper 8; Skjefte 6); TMB (Dolan 9; Landherr 7; Munson 7).

REBOUNDING: YME (Sneller 10; Anderson 7; Skjefte 5); TMB (Landherr 9; Dolan, Davis 6).

ASSISTS: YME (Sneller 6); TMB (Dolan 2).

BLOCKS: YME (Anderson 1); TMB (Davis 2).

TURNOVERS: YME (10); TMB (16).