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Trojans do the expected

Fri, Mar 18th, 2011
Posted in Sports

When the sub-section 1A East seedings originally came out, the Rushford-Peterson Trojan boys drew the top spot. That meant the powers that be felt they were the team to beat. Simply put, they were. Their regular season record against fellow East members was 7-0. That included 12, 7, and 20-point victories over 2-4 seeds Spring Grove, Houston, and Lanesboro. They also beat 5th seeded Fillmore Central twice (by 36 and 2). It was no surprise that they advanced their way to the section title game (for a second straight season).

After falling the Super Larks of Grand Meadow in the quarterfinals, R-P faced the Burros of Lanesboro in the semi-finals. It wasn't all Trojans. Tom Vix's club spotted the orange and black the first eight points. But by halftime, they were in control (39-23). By the time the dust cleared, R-P had hit a dozen three-point shots. That's not abnormal. It was out of the ordinary that the trio of Nick Thompson, Trent Vix, and Ben Krambeer didn't somehow convert all twelve. Sure Thompson hit his three, and Vix his four, and Krambeer his two, but freshman Jorli Hauge added two and senior Danny Jones another. Just as importantly, Thompson pitched a tent at the free throw line, converting 12 of 13 attempts, showing his touch isn't just from deep. He led all scorers with 27 points. Vix checked in second with 16. With the aid of an 18-9 turnover advantage, R-P knocked off neighbor Lanesboro 72-53. Braden Hanson (14 points) and Cory Strom (12 points) led the Burros. They finish a fine season 14-4 in the SEC, 19-8 overall.

Moving to the sub-section title game, R-P faced a familiar but odd opponent. Sixth-seeded Wabasha Kellogg wasn't supposed to be their adversary. The Falcons of the North entered as Cinderella. After a dismal 4-22 regular season, W-K used their size to rattle off three straight post-season victories versus Schaeffer Academy 76-44, three-seed Houston 56-37, and two-seed Spring Grove 76-73. Against the Trojans, W-K's clock slowly ticked down to midnight. They fought to prevent it, but R-P fought off every Falcon advance (including one that reduced the deficit to a two-possession wonlate in the contest). In the end, R-P prevailed 66-52, winning their second straight sub-section 1A East crown, and setting up a section 1A final re-match with the Goodhue Wildcats.

What Were the Odds?

Southeastern Minnesota boy's basketball doesn't have oddsmakers. It doesn't have spreads. It doesn't have bookies or adults betting on the games. It shouldn't. But if it did, a curious spectator would like to know what Chatfield's boys odds were against top ranked Plainview-Elgin-Millville (in the 1AA semifinals), what the spread was, and whether or not the Gophers could take any moral victories from covering (winning somebody some money). Using the two regular season meetings between the clubs as a guide, both PEM victories (68-47 and 72-45), one could surmise the spread was 24. In that case, Chatfield didn't cover. The Bulldogs blitzed by the Gopher's by 38 (81-43). PEM star Cole Olstad blitzed his way into the Minnesota state basketball records (with a 31-point performance), becoming only the sixth male in Minnesota history to score 3000 career points. Teammate Sam Ruth scored 19. Chatfield's lone senior starter, Erik Hilgren, led the Gophers with 14. And therein lies the Gopher's moral victory. The team will return almost completely intact next year, meaning they're almost assured an improvement on 2010-2011's 7-13 (Three Rivers), 10-17 (overall record). With freshman Nate Skare contributing a lot, they have a young star to look forward to for years to come.

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