Boys Basketball: Rushin and Powers combine for 49 -- still not enough as Warriors fall to Apollo
Brainerd found itself rolling at the start of the second half up 52-40 with 16 minutes remaining when St. Cloud Apollo called a timeout.
Out of the timeout, the Eagles went on a 12-2 run to cut the Warrior lead down to two. The run was highlighted by a Puoch Dobeol slam dunk.
It was Charlie Hoth who sank his third 3-pointer to give the Eagles their first lead of the night with six minutes remaining. From there Apollo closed out the Warriors for a come from behind 77-71 victory Thursday, Dec. 5.
The Warriors fought back and reclaimed the lead 67-66 with four minutes remaining thanks to a Griffin Rushin 5-0 run.
However, Eagles point guard Michael Gravelle hit 4-of-6 free throws in the last two minutes to seal the win.
Brainerd jumped out to a hot start and scored 45 first half points. The Warriors’ offense was paced by guard Connor Powers who lit up the Eagles’ defense with 17 first-half points and finished with a game-high 28 on 10-of-13 shooting.
“The versatility is big,” Warriors head coach Charlie Schoeck said of Powers. “He can facilitate and you also have to honor his 3-point shot as well. Last year he did not really shoot the ball that well, but so far this year he is up over 50%. So you have to honor the three and obviously, he is very tough downhill.”
Powers scored on a layup to eclipse the 20 point mark to give Brainerd its largest lead of 52-40 before that Apollo timeout.
Apollo’s defense tightened up in the second half and only allowed 26 points to Brainerd. The Eagles switched up their defense in the second half going to a full-court press to man-to-man to a 3-2 zone and kept the Warriors guessing.
“We went to a 3-2 zone back to a man-to-man which I think confused them at times,” Eagles head coach Jason Allen said. “We were struggling guarding them man-to-man in the first half. They were beating us backdoor, so we switched to a 3-2 zone which benefits us more because of our length.”
Schoeck thought the Eagles length bothered the Warriors’ offense in the second half.
“They were getting out in some passing lanes and threw the timing off a little bit,” Schoeck said. “They are a long, lengthy team and challenged a lot of shots to make it difficult for us.”
Meanwhile, the Eagles were the ones who put up 40 points in the second half as their offense came alive.
“It was our 5-out offense, we had more movement and we played inside out,” Allen said.
Three different Eagles scored 20 points or more. Hoth led the way for Apollo with 21 points, including five 3-pointers. Dobuol finished with 20 points with 12 coming in the second half. Gravelle also scored 20 highlighted by a key layup to give the Eagles a 71-68 cushion with two minutes left.
“That’s what we have different from last year,” Allen said of his team’s balanced attack. “If we continue to stay balance and play tough D we will be scary.
“(This game) is huge for our confidence because Brainerd is a good team and a team that was picked to finish at the top of the conference.”
For Brainerd along with Powers’ 28 points, Rushin finished with 21 points on 8-of-19 shooting. Senior Owen Davis struggled to stay on the floor with foul trouble. He fouled out and tallied eight points on 3-of-7 shooting. Ben Staehling scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting.
The Warriors dropped their first Central Lakes Conference game after dropping their first section game Tuesday night.
“We just have to focus on what we do well,” Schoeck said. “There are times tonight where we were in the gaps we wanted to be on defense. The times where we have some mental lapses and giving up some open looks, we just have to fine-tune some of those things. It’s early in the year and it’s two good opponents and there are a lot of good things to take from these two games.”
For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2OWbVj7 .
St. Cloud Apollo 37 40 -- 77
Brainerd 45 26 -- 71
ST. CLOUD APOLLO
Puoch Dobuol 20, Michael Gravelle 20, Alex Hausman 3, Jack Hoth 3, Jalyn Williams 1, Chang Hoth 21, Thomas Diew 9. FG 29-65 (45 percent), FT 11-18 (61 percent). 3-point 8-25 (32 percent).
Ben Staehling 7, Griffin Rushin 21, Owen Davis 8, Max Lelwica 4, Connor Powers 28, Camron Engholm 3. FG 25-58 (43 percent), FT 14-21 (67 percent). 3-point 7-15 (47 percent).
Apollo 77, Warriors 71
Key: Balanced attack for Apollo paces its comeback road win over Brainerd
Conf: Brd 0-1, SCA 1-0
Overall: Brd 0-2, SCA 2-0
Next: Brainerd hosts Sauk Rapids 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10