March 16, 2023 at 6:29 p.m.
Albany faces Milaca for spot at state tournament
Throughout the season, the Albany High School boys basketball team has had different individuals step up with a strong performance to help lead the team to victory.
On Wednesday night, it was senior center Ethan Borgerding who did the heavy lifting.
Borgerding had a double-double to lead the Huskies past Sauk Centre 63-49 in the Section 6AA semifinals March 15 at St. John’s University in Collegeville.
“Ethan is a strong human being and has been dedicated to the weight room to give himself physical tools to perform as an athlete,” said Cory Schlagel, Albany head coach. “He used his physicality and footwork that he works on in practice to seal his defender. Combine that with the fact that teams have to try to defend our perimeter players as well, Ethan finds himself in positions to attack one-on-one in the post.”
Borgerding was nearly unstoppable down low. He finished with 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting and added 12 rebounds.
“We were able to find him in some of our sets and just in our general motion offense to get him quality looks and he delivered,” Schlagel said.
The Huskies advance to the section finals Friday, March 17, and will play a familiar Granite Ridge Conference foe, Milaca, for an opportunity to play in the Class AA state tournament. That game takes place at 7 p.m. at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud.
Milaca defeated Mora 68-67 in the other section semifinal game.
During the regular season, the Huskies won both meetings over the Wolves, 90-55 and 95-82.
“Milaca is very skilled on the offensive end, and we have our hands full as they all shoot the 3 very well and can also attack the basket off the dribble,” Schlagel said. “We need to defend well on the perimeter to have any chance to compete for a win. Our kids are excited about the chance to play for a Section 6AA title. But in reality, we have had the mentality of focusing on the task at hand with whoever our opponent is.”
Against the Streeters, the 28-1 Huskies led 27-19 at halftime and then increased its lead to 16, 45-29, early in the second half after three consecutive baskets from Borgerding. Sauk Centre whittled the lead to 53-45 with just over three minutes left, but a continued strong defensive effort by the Huskies sealed the victory. They restricted the Streeters to 34% shooting (18-53).
This group of players has been receptive to our defensive philosophy from day No. 1 of practice,” Schlagel said. “November and December set the table in laying the groundwork of technique along with different coverages we have to defend screening action. We also try to play defense for 36 minutes. We try to stay relentless in our coverages to make it as hard as possible to get quality looks each possession.”
Tysen Gerads, 15, and Zeke Austin, 12, also scored in double figures for the Huskies.
The Streeters were led by junior Jay Neubert, who scored 22 points, including his 2,000th career point. Sauk Centre finishes their season with a 21-8 record.