Boys Basketball: Warriors defend home court against Apollo
If only the Brainerd Warriors could bottle some home-court goodness. The Warriors entered their Thursday, Feb. 21, Central Lakes Conference game against St. Cloud Apollo losers of their last two. Both games were on the road. Back in the comfort o...
If only the Brainerd Warriors could bottle some home-court goodness.
The Warriors entered their Thursday, Feb. 21, Central Lakes Conference game against St. Cloud Apollo losers of their last two. Both games were on the road.
Back in the comfort of their own Brainerd High School gymnasium, the Warriors withstood some early Apollo jabs to claim a 76-67 victory.
After tying the score 44-44 early in the second half, the Warriors went on a 6-0 run to distance themselves enough to secure the win and push their home-court record to 10-1.
Brainerd is 3-7 on the road and, unfortunately, three of its last four games are on the road.
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Warriors 76, Apollo 67
- Key: A 6-0 run early in the second half gave Brainerd the final lead change
- Conf: Brd 9-5, SCA 10-5
- Overall: Brd 13-9, SCA 13-12
- Next: vs. Rocori at Cold Spring 7:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22
- For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2BH3Wzt .
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"Hitting a couple of shots out of the gates always helps," Warriors head coach Charlie Schoeck said about road games. "I just think the mentality of not needing to feed off the crowd is going to be key. We need to focus on not getting a crowd excited, but silencing the crowd on the road. That will be the key."
Brainerd trailed 38-33 entering the second half, but Eric Martin got things rolling early with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Owen Davis, who sat most of the first half with two fouls, scored six straight points before Ben Staehling's bucket tied the score 44-44.
"Coaches did a great job of pumping us up in the locker room like they always do," Staehling said. "We had a huge crowd tonight. They did a great job of pumping us up. It was just a great game. It was a fun game.
"Apollo is a tough team. They're a very athletic team, but we just stayed composed."
Staehling led the Warriors with 18 points. Connor Powers came off the bench to add 16 and Joey Sauer scored 16 to go with seven rebounds. Nine of Sauer's points came in the second half with back-to-back buckets kickstarting the 6-0 run for the game's final lead change.
Davis scored all nine of his points in the second half. His single 3-pointer handed Brainerd a 55-49 edge.
"It was difficult keeping Owen off the floor in that first half, but we had a group out there that was keeping it close," Schoeck said. "We thought if we could continue to do that, then having him for a full second half would be more beneficial."
Two Powers' free throws handed the Warriors their biggest lead of the game at 69-59, but the Eagles wouldn't fly away. Junior point guard Michael Gravelle led all scorers with 27 points and was 12-of-13 from the foul line.
Apollo knocked in five straight free throws to close to 71-67 before Mason Malone and Martin hit the last five free throws for the final score.
"The biggest thing in the first half was we had to clean up some of the loose-ball turnovers and limit the offensive rebounds we were giving up," Schoeck said. "Then offensively, when we were spreading the court, they didn't have anybody that wanted to guard us. The key was to spread the court and get to the hoop. We were 9-of-11 from 2-point in the first half. That was the message. When we were getting to the hoop we were either scoring or getting to the line."
The Warriors jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but the opening frame featured seven ties and seven lead changes until Apollo posted a 38-33 halftime edge.
Gravelle led all first-half scorers with 16 points. Staehling led Brainerd with 12 first-half points and Powers added 10.
"We just wanted to take it to the rim," Staehling said. "They didn't really want to stay in front of us on defense so our mindset was to take it to the hole.
"Usually when those first few shots go in my confidence gets going. I see the ball going in right away then I just want to keep on going."
For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2BH3Wzt .
Apollo 38 29-67
Brainerd 33 43-76
ST. CLOUD APOLLO
Pouch Dobuol 2, Logan Johnson 4, Clifton Patterson 1, Lukas Theisen 3, Michael Gravelle 27, John Blommel 2, Deng Diew 12, Chang Hoth 16. FG 21-49 (43 percent), FT 21-29 (72 percent). 3-point 4-11 (36 percent).
Ben Staehling 18, Mason Malone 8, Eric Martin 6, Owen Davis 9, Gabe Smith 3, Joey Sauer 16, Connor Powers 16. FG 25-48 (52 percent), FT 20-31 (65 percent). 3-point 6-18 (33 percent).