By Brenda Erdahl, Sports Editor
The Irish boys basketball team finished off last week’s play Thursday, Feb. 8, with a 50-44 win at home over Eden Valley- Watkins to take over the top position in the Central Minnesota Conference with an 8-1 record.
Maple Lake then tacked another win to their increasingly impressive tally on Monday, Feb. 12, over non-conference foe Spectrum, to boost the team’s regular season record to 16-4.
Thursday’s contest provided fans with a “great game between two good defensive teams,” Irish coach Tim Staloch said. “Every possession was a battle and most points were earned by making contested shots.”
By the break, the Irish were up by just two points, 20-18.
The Eagles came out strong in the second half and built a fivepoint lead with the help of three, three-point connections. The Irish tied it up at 29-29 and from there it was a back-and-fourth game through much of the remaining minutes. Scores were tied at 31- 31, 35-35, and 38-38 before Maple Lake went on an 8-0 run to claim a 46-38 advantage. The Irish held onto their lead until the final buzzer sounded.
“Our guys came up with some big defensive stops, grabbed key rebounds, and knocked down clutch shots down the stretch,” Staloch said. “We also did an excellent job taking care of the basketball late in the game as they cranked up their defensive pressure.”
“It was a big win against a very good team. We now need to refocus and continue to work to improve every day,” Staloch said.
Leading the charge against the Eagles was Cole Trager with 15 points, five rebounds, and two assists. Joseph Stokman added another 14 points and three rebounds, and Alex Toedter had 10 points and eight rebounds.
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