January 25, 2023 at 5:42 p.m.
Sauk Centre boys’ basketball improves to 10-2
After a series of defensive-minded games, the Sauk Centre Streeters boys’ basketball team created an offensive explosion against the Benson Braves Jan. 24.
The team shot 49.2% on 61 shot attempts, with four Streeters reaching double-digit scoring in an entertaining 80-40 win at Benson High School in Benson.
“Conference road wins are hard to come by, so overall, I’m happy with how we played,” said Kevin Kuefler, head coach.
The first 16 points of the game were evenly split at 8-8, but it did not take long for Sauk Centre to assert control, as the visitors tallied 15 of the next 19 points to grab a cushion. The Braves never cut their deficit within single digits again, as the Streeters entered halftime up 15 off the back of strong perimeter defense and rebounding.
“Benson loves to shoot threes, so our general plan was to try our best to contest the shot and box out, in hopes we could hold them to just one-shot attempt,” Kuefler said. “We wanted to round and run the floor.”
And with more time to possess the ball, the better the Streeters’ shots ended up being. Jay Neubert went 8-for-10 from the field for a game-high 23 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists, while Ethan Riley totaled 19 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and a block.
“Ethan Riley played great,” Kuefler said. “His ability to both handle the ball and shoot from the outside gave them problems.”
The Streeters outdid their first-half showing with a 46-point second half, and the convincing style of victory allowed some of the team’s depth to thrive. Corey McCoy had three points and six boards, Troy Hansen contributed four points and three rebounds and Carter Ziemer pulled down three rebounds off high-effort plays.
“Troy Hansen, Corey McCoy and Carter Ziemer gave us strong minutes off the bench,” Kuefler said. “I felt they all played good defense, which is the No. 1 thing we ask from them.”
Adding some extra excitement to the mix was a 3-pointer in the final minute from senior Hunter Novak, leading to loud cheers from the Streeters bench and fan section.
Sauk Centre will see another tough test in the form of the Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta Tigers at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26, at Morris Area High School in Morris.
“We will need to embrace the challenge and find a way to be the best version of ourselves and hopefully, that results in a win,” Kuefler said.
SC 34 46 80
BEN 19 21 40
Neubert 23 (9R, 5A), Riley 19 (10R, 5A), Matthew Warring 13 (6R), Andrew Drevlow 12 (3R, 4A), Hansen 4 (3R), McCoy 3 (6R), Damian Ahrens 3 (3R), Novak 3 and Ziemer 0 (3R).
Sauk Centre 49, Melrose 36
In a battle of two teams known for their 3-point shooting, the West Central Conference showdown between the Melrose Dutchmen and Streeters Jan. 20 was decided by digging deep defensively and drawing fouls.
The conference rivals shot over 60 free throws combined and denied the other’s offense from getting comfortable, but behind Warring’s 14-point, nine-rebound, six-assist and five-steal performance, Sauk Centre gutted out a 49-36 win at Sauk Centre High School in Sauk Centre.
The Streeters snagged an 18-8 lead as Melrose immediately got into foul trouble, committing seven fouls in the first nine minutes of the game. Sauk Centre endured a 7-0 Dutchmen scoring run, earning six free throws to end the half up 24-17.
Neubert scored 17 points for the Streeters, who held Melrose offensive threats Connor Engelmeyer and Gor Ruey to a combined 18 points.
MEL 17 19 36
SC 24 25 49
Neubert 17 (4R, 3A), Warring 14 (9R, 6A, 5S), Ahrens 8, Riley 5 (9R), Drevlow 4 and McCoy 1.
West Central Area 56,
Sauk Centre 50
A blossoming rivalry bout saw the West Central Area Knights take down the Streeters 56-50 in the second and final regular season matchup Jan. 19 at Sauk Centre High School in Sauk Centre.
The Streeters remained a step behind the Knights for much of the game, trailing 29-25 at halftime and struggling to convert looks from the field. Sauk Centre shot 31.4% on their 2-point tries but did manage to find a boost through their deadly perimeter shooting, knocking down 9 of 21 3-point attempts.
Neubert totaled 16 points and eight boards, Drevlow added 10 points and three steals and Ahrens connected on three 3-pointers.
WCA 29 27 56
SC 25 25 50
Neubert 16 (8R), Drevlow 10 (3S), Ahrens 9, Warring 8 (5R, 3A), Riley 4 (4R, 3A), McCoy 2 (5R) and Hansen 1.