Boys basketball: Strong 3rd quarter lifts Jets past Vikings

Boys basketball: Strong 3rd quarter lifts Jets past Vikings

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Boys basketball: Strong 3rd quarter lifts Jets past Vikings

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For the second time this season, the Valders boys basketball team played Roncalli tough in the first half before the Jets used a third-quarter surge to take control of the game.

Tied up at 25-25 entering halftime, Roncalli (15-1, 12-0 Olympian Conference) outscored Valders 13-6 in the third en route to a 54-46 win over the visiting Vikings on Thursday.

When the two sides met in Valders back on Dec. 12, the Vikings (13-3, 9-3 OC) led by four going into the break before facing a 10-point deficit heading into the fourth. This type of fate is routine though for the Jets opponents, with Roncalli having outscored the opposition by at least three points in 11 of 16 games this season.

“Our kids are starting to get a little smarter in terms of how to look at how a team is doing then being able to make the adjustments that they need to make before we even say anything (at halftime),” said Roncalli coach Joe Rux on his team’s propensity to come out firing in the third. “By the time we get in the locker room we’re working with some ideas that they’ve already addressed so all we have to do is try and solidify those ideas on how to attack the other team.”

Valders coach Trevor Schwoerer was pleased with his team’s performance in the first while acknowledging the quality of his opposition.

“We had a bad stretch in the third quarter, we didn’t come out how we wanted to but I was very pleased with our kids effort and how we competed tonight,” Schwoerer said. “Playing good teams like this is how you get better.”

Despite a rough start to the second half, the Vikings trimmed the Jets’ lead to as few as four for much of the fourth quarter behind a defense which hounded Roncalli and forced turnovers on three straight Jets’ possessions.

“We were playing scrappy,” said Valders’ Forrest Fenlon of the Vikings mentality on defense in the fourth. “We knew we needed to do something about the game and came out with fire.”

Fenlon, who finished with a team-high 18 points, was the only player for Valders to score in all four quarters and consistently helped to facilitate on offense. This wasn’t lost on Schwoerer, who praised Fenlon for stepping up in the absence of teammate Zack Goedeke who has missed the past six games with an ankle injury.

“Obviously (not having Zack) impacts our team quite a bit,” Schwoerer added “Defensively, he alters and blocks a lot shots and offensively he’s a nice guy to throw it up to. We plan on getting him back before the end of the year but Forrest has really picked up his game in the meantime. The last four or five games he’s stepped up offensively scoring the basketball, he’s getting under control and going up strong.”

Down the stretch, though, Roncalli turned to one of its senior leaders in Josh Erickson, who scored 11 of his game-high 22 in the fourth quarter. Just when it seemed the tide might turn in the Vikings favor, Erickson took control for the Jets, providing an offensive spark which Rux says he’s seen more often from the senior.

“Josh has really learned to play out of our offense, he knows he’s going to have a mismatch in a lot of games,” Rux added. “There’s not much other teams can do because he can shoot the three so well and he’s a good jump shooter so it makes you play him with a guard, and a really athletic one. It allowed him to get to the rim a lot tonight which was a big part of our game plan.”

Erickson knew what was expected of him when push came to shove.

“In the fourth quarter, in a close game and you’re a senior leader on the team you’re always thinking what can I do to step up and get the lead extended to win the game,” Erickson said.

While Fenlon and Erickson shouldered most of the load offensively for their teams, Paxton Korslin and Nick Stelzer each added 11 points for Valders and Roncalli, respectively. Also for the Jets, Tyler Heyduk finished with nine points but scored seven of those in the first quarter before getting into foul trouble.

Valders…13 12 6 15
— 46


Roncalli…13 12 13 16 — 54

Valders — Korslin 11, Fenlon 18, Schwoerer 3, Fochs 2, Sundsmo 4, Miller 4, Shimon 6. 3-pt: Fenlon 2, Schwoerer. FT: 7-13. Fouls: 13.

Roncalli — Erickson 22, Johnson 7, Heyduk 9, Ahola 5, Stelzer 11 . 3-pt: Erickson, Johnson, Ahola, Stelzer 2. FT: 7-13. Fouls: 17.

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