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Trojan boys add to tradition

Mon, Apr 2nd, 2012
Posted in All Sports

Only eight teams in the state of Minnesota ended the 2011-2012 boy’s basketball season with a win. That includes the Rushford-Peterson Trojans. They didn’t win the big one. They didn’t celebrate a state championship on the Target Center’s floor. They took home the 3rd place trophy, and celebrated at the Gangelhoff Center on the campus of Concordia University in St. Paul. Nonetheless, their 2 and 1 showing at state, their efforts all season, have been nothing less than superb. And the Trojans weren’t exactly far from competing for a state crown. They were roughly (potentially) a big toe away.

Thompson Ensures 3-Game Experience

R-P started their state adventure playing Prairie Seeds Academy (23-2), the Section 4A champion out of Brooklyn Park.

Late in the first half, things didn’t look good. The Lycans built a 31-19 lead. But then R-P benefited from a rare 5-point possession. After a Cole Kingsley missed FT attempt, PSA was sited for an illegal substitution (a player entered the game with a different number then written in the book). It warranted a technical foul. Kingsley made his second FT. Nick Thompson made one of two technical FT’s. Trent Vix, on the kept possession, nailed a three-pointer. All told, R-P amassed a 9-0 run to end the half, going to the break down just three.

Another Vix three early in the second tied the game at 36. From there, the Trojans scored points on 19 of their last 26 possessions. They made 10 of 14 FG’s during one stretch. The younger Kingsley’s aggressiveness was one big key. Cole had four of those makes, scoring 10 of his 11 in the second half. Thompson was the other big key. He got 21 of his 34 points in the second half, making 5 of 10 threes for the game. Vix added 11. Jorli Hauge grabbed 13 rebounds (9 defensive) to go with his 9 points. The Trojans made 11 of 14 FT’s down the stretch, building the lead to double-digits in the final minute. They blockaded any chances Devin Buckley (17 points), 6’7” Gage Deis (14 pts, 12 rebs, 8 assists), and the other Lycans, could pull off a comeback. The green and gold prevailed 74-68.

Total free throws were a huge key. R-P made 26 of 35 (Thompson alone was 13 of 16), PSA 5 of 10.

That Pesky Big Toe

The win moved R-P to the semis. They faced 27-1 Southwest Minnesota Christian, the Section 3A champs out of Edgerton. The Eagles lone loss came to Worthington by a single point. They entered on a 21-game winning streak. It was a battle.

Thompson and Vix were the two best warriors. By halftime, Thompson had 12, Vix 9, and the Trojans a 28-22 lead.

SMC coach Jamie Pap must have lectured his team about defense at halftime, particularly ball pressure. In the second, junior guard Klint Knutson hounded Trent Vix from two seconds before the in-bounds pass to two seconds after each pass/shot. The Eagle’s defensive intensity made every R-P movement difficult. They held the Trojans to just 2 FG’s over the first 7-plus minutes. R-P’s defense matched the effort though. They held SMC to two FG’s over the same span. An Austin O’Hare bucket at the 10:04 mark gave R-P a 34-26 lead. The Eagles countered with more FG’s, three, in a 1:32-span, than they had in the previous 9:19. The 7-0 Eagle spurt trimmed R-P’s lead to just 34-33, setting up the thrilling, and semi-controversial, finish.

A three-pointer by Dominic Nibbelink (4:31) gave SMC a 38-36 lead, its first since 7-4. Vix answered back from way deep 21 seconds later, putting R-P back ahead (39-38). It was tied or back-and-forth until Andrew Top made two FT’s (0:24) to give SMC a 45-42 lead. With 12 ticks left, Thompson launched a long ball that found its mark. He seemingly tied the game. But the bucket was ruled a two. Officials convened and reviewed the shot via replay. They confirmed (didn’t reverse) the two-call, confirmed SMC led 45-44.

R-P fouled immediately. Top made one of two FT’s. Thompson got one more, sprinting-up-the-court, desperation NBA-three for the win, but it was wide left. SMC prevailed. They did so (possibly) by the length of Thompson’s left big toe.

Nick led all scorers with 20 points (10 rebounds). Vix was second highest with 14. Top led SMC with 11 points, though the Eagles had five players score 7 or more. R-P had just the two. The Trojans did hold 6’9” Zach Huisken, a 19-point, 12-rebound player coming in, to 7 and 13. Neither team shot well from deep (R-P 3-13, SMC 3-20). The Eagles made two more FT’s (13 of 23), but R-P shot a higher percentage (11 of 14). Fourteen R-P TO’s (to SMC’s 9) was one critical difference. SMC also had more points in the paint (22 to 14), second chance points (10 to 6), fast break points (6 to 0), and bench points (9 to 0). Some how though, R-P was ahead (or the game was tied) for roughly 30:50 of the total 36:00 minutes.

SMC lost to undefeated Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa in the Class A title game 54-45.

That Pesky Trent Vix Ensures Third

After a very tough loss that ended the R-P dream of competing for, winning, a state championship, it would’ve been very easy for the Trojans to not show up for the third place game, or show up in a lesser capacity. Well, on the second account, they did. Nick Thompson puked before the game. He was noticeably rubbing his (illness irritated) eyes and nose before the tip. The Kingsley brothers also weren’t, hadn’t been, exactly 100 percent healthy, throughout the tournament.

Nonetheless, the Trojans played the same way they’ve played all season, hard and disciplined. They were most certainly in it to win.

Their opponent, 25-6 Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin (located about an hour SW of Mankato), wasn’t quite so engaged. The Section 2A champs came out flat. Jorli Hauge reaped the whirlwind of not being boxed out. He collected four put-back buckets early on (had 13 first half points, 15 for the game). Nick Thompson and Trent Vix seemed dead set on disintegrating the nets. They combined for seven long-range makes in the first 18:00. The Trojans ripped off an 18-0 run, taking a 17-10 advantage and building on it big time. At one point, ML/B-O had 14 TO’s and 12 points. At halftime, it was a 26-point R-P advantage (43-17).

The game’s verdict was pretty much a formality from there. The record books weren’t. The Trojans threatened two marks. As a team, they nearly got to the Most Three-Point FG’s Made in a tournament game mark (17). They nailed 15. Trent Vix assaulted the individual 3-Point FG’s Made mark (10). He nailed six, step-back, high-lofting, rainbow bombs in the second half, adding to the three that found twine in the first. Most were from closer to NBA range than high school. He was reinserted into the game late for a go number at #10. Trent got a three up. It just missed. It was back to the bench!

All the reserves from both teams got a taste of on-court state tournament action.

R-P coasted to a 75-48 victory, a 3rd place crown. It was their 26th victory of the season (versus 6 losses), a school record.

The Wolverines, after a sluggish first half, got better efforts in the second half from big-men 6’4” Beau Herrig (14 points, 6 rebounds) and 6’6” Carter Kirk (14 points, 5 rebounds).

Vix’s performance (9-17 from deep, 27 pts, 5 stls) and Thompson’s effort (5-10 from deep, 19 pts) were perfectly fitting caps to their tremendous careers. Their final performances were near perfect paradigms of they’ve done, and what has made them so fun to watch, over the past two seasons. The senior duo, one of the best in SE Minnesota, one of the best in the state amongst small schools, for the past two seasons, went out right. Their stars shined brightly on the biggest Minnesota prep hoops stage. Both made the Class A All-Tournament team. Their reward; a possible trip to Disney World! Just hours after arriving home from the Cities, all the R-P seniors left for the class trip in Florida.

The towns of Rushford and Peterson shined on a bigger stage, once again.

In Minnesota boy’s basketball history, spanning single-class, two-class, and multi-class eras, Fillmore County has produced 16 boys state tournament teams. Chatfield has one (2005), Preston two (1929, 1973), Peterson one (1986), Rushford one (1989), and R-P 11 (1991, 1997-2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012)! The latest just added to the Trojan tradition. With three soph and two frosh contributors, plus players off a very good B-squad, there’s a strong probability they’ll add more. With Tom Vix as head coach, there’s a strong probability they’ll add more.

It won’t come easy.

R-P wasn’t the only Three Rivers team successful on the state stage. Plainview-Elgin-Millville pulled out a win in the Class AA quarters, and then rolled to 17 and 16 point wins in the semis and finals, grabbing their first state title. And thus, the Trojans won’t even hang the most prestigious 2012 state banner in the conference!

Track Results


Byron Invitational (Chatfield boys and girls each finished 2nd of 5)

•Top Individuals (boys): Jayme LaPlante (2nd at 100-meters, shot put, & discus); Tyler Wondrow (1st at high jump, 2nd at long jump); Josh Johnson (1st at 800-meters); Nick Haffner (2nd at 110-hurdles); Bradee Brundridge (2nd at Triple Jump); the 4x400 team (N. Haffner, B. Brundridge, Matt Salerno, J. Johnson) took 1st, the 4x200 team (N. Haffner, M. Salerno, Tyler Grover, B. Brundridge) took 2nd.

•Top Individuals (girls): Kyndra Neis (1st at Shot Put & Discus); Maddie Talamantes (2nd at 100-hurdles & 300-hurdles); Haley Woltz (2nd at 800-meters); the 4x200 team (M. Talamantes, Ashley Baker, Maddy Kammer, Autum Erickson) took 1st, the 4x400 (A. Baker, M. Kammer, Alex Duxbury, Camille Rasmussen) took 2nd, and the 4x800 (A. Duxbury, C. Rasmussen, Karen Gomez, Kayla Woltz) took 1st.


Norse Open at Luther College in Decorah (Meet featured Chatfield, Kingsland, La Crosse Logan, Waterloo-West, South Winneshiek, Waterloo-East, Central Elkader, Rochester-John Marshall, Valley High Schools)

•Top Individuals (boys) - Chatfield: J. LaPlante (1st at Shot Put); T. Wondrow (3rd at High Jump); N. Haffner (4th at 55-hurdles); B. Brundridge (4th at Triple Jump, 9th at Long Jump). Kingsland: Jordan Meskill (4th at 400-meters).

•Top Individuals (girls) - Chatfield: the Distance Medley team (K. Gomez/M. Kammer/A. Duxbury/K. Woltz) took 1st setting a meet record; K. Gomez (1st at 1,600-meters); K. Neis (2nd at Shot Put); M. Kammer (3rd at High Jump); Hannah Friedrich (tied for 2nd at Pole Vault; *only four competitors); the 4x200 team (A. Baker/A. Erickson/M. Kammer/Nikita York) took 1st; the 4x800 team (C. Rasmussen/H. Woltz/A. Duxbury/K. Woltz) took 3rd; the 1,600-sprint medley team (A. Baker/A. Erickson/M. Kammer/C. Rasmussen) took 3rd. Kingsland: Lacey Schwartz (3rd at 55-dash, 8th at 200-meter dash, 10th at Long Jump, & was on 6th place 4x200 meter squad).

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