BOYS BASKETBALL: Warriors rally for 4th win
While it was senior night, the Brainerd Warriors made sure everyone contributed Friday.
Nine different players scored for the Warriors, who used a 13-2 run in the second half to build a 45-36 lead.
They built that into a 58-48 Central Lakes Conference victory over the Sartell Sabres at Brainerd High School.
“It was the last regular-season home game for us seniors so we got the guys going in the locker room,” said senior post Nick Belgum. “We had to win our last home game. We had won three games and they were all at home so we had to get our fourth win at home. We just had to do it.”
Sartell scorched the nets to secure an 18-4 edge to begin the game. The Sabres ran that lead to 24-9 before Brainerd used a 16-4 run to close out the half and cut Sartell’s lead to 28-25.
Jack Sauer came off the bench to score eight of his team-high 17 points in the first half. Brainerd’s bench outscored Sartell’s 26-0.
“At halftime we just said let’s throw the ball out, find our guys and let’s just attack them,” said Brainerd head coach Wade Haapajoki. “We got a little lucky when they came out in that 1-3-1 zone. It wasn’t that we weren’t expecting it, but we figured they would go man because they’re a pretty physical team. I thought we jumped on that right away.
“We just responded. We got challenged and we responded with 11 different guys.”
Brainerd carried its end-of-the-half momentum into the second half and grabbed its first lead of the game at 30-29. After three lead changes and two ties, the Warriors went on their 13-2 run to build an 11-point edge.
Kevin Peterson scored all of his 11 points in the second half and Jacob Blong finished with 10 for the 4-19 Warriors.
“We talked to Kevin about coming off the bench to start the second half to let the game dictate how he was going to play rather than try and make him dictate the game,” said Haapajoki. “He wanted to do as well as anybody and I thought he responded well.”
Sartell’s AJ Frank led all scorers with 23, but scored only nine in the second half. Brainerd’s defense forced Sartell into eight second-half turnovers. The Sabres attempted two less field goals and four less free throws in the second half and hit just one 3-pointer.
“That was the game,” said Belgum. “It is that simple. Defense was the game. It was what won it for us. We were working to get that extra ball and that extra bucket.”
The victory snaps Brainerd’s four-game losing streak and hands Sartell its fifth straight loss. Up next for the Warriors is a date with Class 2A’s fourth-ranked Pequot Lakes Patriots Saturday night.
• Fans raised about $1,800 for the family of Richard Peterson, who is receiving treatment for brain cancer. Peterson’s son, Logan, scored four points for the Warriors.
Sartell 28 20 — 48
Brainerd 25 33 — 58
Tom Bearson 7, Patrick Fischer 12, Tim Immelman 6, AJ Frank 23. FG 18-40 (45 percent), FT 8-12 (67 percent), 3-point 4-12 (33 percent).
Kevin Peterson 11, Pat Skogen 1, Blake Peterson 6, Jack Sauer 17, Tommy Olson 1, Nick Belgum 6, Riley Kline 2, Jacob Blong 10, Logan Peterson 4. FG 24-45 (53 percent), FT 5-11 (45 percent), 3-point 5-13 (38 percent).
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.