Boys Basketball: Rogers rallies, ends Brainerd's season
ROGERS--With 8:21 remaining, the Brainerd Warriors seized a 57-56 lead along with momentum against the Rogers Royals in the quarterfinals of the Section 8-4A tournament. But third-seeded Rogers recovered and took control of the game as they outsc...
ROGERS-With 8:21 remaining, the Brainerd Warriors seized a 57-56 lead along with momentum against the Rogers Royals in the quarterfinals of the Section 8-4A tournament.
But third-seeded Rogers recovered and took control of the game as they outscored Brainerd 23-10 the rest of the way en route to a 79-67 victory Tuesday.
The Royals almost couldn't miss from the field, shooting 55 percent (26 of 47). They were even deadlier at the foul line (20 of 25) as they advanced to the section semifinals and ended sixth-seeded Brainerd's season.
"They're a good team, they're 23-4 for a reason," Warriors coach Scott Stanfield said. "They play good defense, they take you out of some things you want to do.
"I thought at times we were every bit as good as they were in many areas. They have 4-5 guys who can get 15-20 points every game. We're building to that. Next year and the year after I think we'll be a lot like them for scoring."
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Rogers 79, Warriors 67
- The key: The Royals shot 55 percent from the field, 80 percent at the foul line
- Overall: Brainerd finishes 11-16, Rogers 23-4
- Next: No. 3 Rogers vs. No. 2 St. Cloud Tech in Section 8-4A semifinals 3:45 p.m. Saturday at St. Cloud State
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Michael Russell finished his Warrior career with 29 points. He had 17 in the second half and was the only Warrior in double figures.
Rogers post Jordan Belka led all players with 28 points. He finished 6 of 8 from the field and 12 of 14 at the foul line. Matt Carik scored 19 for the Royals shooting 7 of 12 from the field and made all five of his free throws. Collin Franz added 14 points as he was 6 of 7 from the field and Mitch Spilles contributed 10 points.
"If you fouled them, they would make it. If you leave them open, they would make it," Stanfield said. "That's what they've been doing all year. I thought we handled their pressure better than the first time down here (a 67-47 loss). We got better at a lot of things."
After trailing by as many as 11 in the second half, Brainerd stormed back to grab a 57-56 lead on a Taylor Shelito layup. The Royals then went on their burst, scoring eight of their last 18 points at the foul line on their way to their 16th win in the last 17 games.
In the first half, Brainerd turned the ball over eight times and the Royals converted the miscues into eight points. Rogers shot 52 percent from the field in the first (12 of 23) and was led by Belka with 12 points and Carik with 10. Belka was three of four from the field and made all four of his free throws. Carik was three of six from the floor and made all four of his free throws.
Russell scored 12 in the first for Brainerd which shot 43 percent (12 of 28) from the floor and was four of 12 from behind the arc.
Brainerd led only twice in the first (3-2 and 8-7) and the contest was tied only once (5-5) during that span.
Brainerd finishes 11-16 after winning three of its last five games.
"Our seniors who are leaving the program gave it all they had all year-Michael Russell, Michael Bieganek, Cody Christensen and Corbin Pikula-those kids stuck it out," Stanfield said. "Our kids got better down the stretch because we are a way better team than a month ago. That's what's been fun.
"This has been one of the funnest years I've coached just because of the improvement. We improved dramatically. The future's bright. We've got a lot of young kids. We'll get some good work in this summer and see what happens next year."
Rogers 37 42 - 79
Brainerd 30 37 - 67
Matt Carik 19, Mitch Spilles 10, Tanner Palm 5, Jordan Belka 28, Collin Franz 14, Brevan Watson 3. FG 26-47 (55 percent). FT 20-25 (80 percent). 3-point 7-19. Turnovers: 5.
Michael Russell 29, Chris Karels 6, Joey Sauer 9, Brandon Burggraff 6, Michael Bieganek 8, Tanner Lundberg 3, Taylor Shelito 6. FG 25-58 (43 percent). FT 7-13 (54 percent). 3-point 10-27. Turnovers: 12.