Sophomore’s stepping up for STMA boys’ basketball team

Sophomore guard Jackson Greenwaldt gets in the face of Elk River’s Zach Ernst during Tuesday’s 63-41 loss. (Photo by Rob LaPlante)
Sophomore guard Jackson Greenwaldt gets in the face of Elk River’s Zach Ernst during Tuesday’s 63-41 loss. (Photo by Rob LaPlante)

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Reporter


Like most inexperienced teams, there will be days where you look like a million bucks and other days you look like a pack of young bucks starring into headlights.

The St. Michael-Albertville boys’ basketball team is 2-2 to start the season and head coach Tim Anfenson said his team is still searching for consistency.

An impressive win over Orono in the season opener was followed up last Tuesday with a disappointing 63-41 loss to Elk River. It was a game where Anfenson said the team was not ready to play.

“I didn’t think we came out with the proper frame of mind to compete,” he said. “We had plenty of good chances early on to make shots. We had the ball in some scorer’s hands and didn’t make any shots.”

As poorly as the offense was to start the game, the Elks offense wasn’t any better. They too struggled from the field and with only 6:12 left in the half, the score was only 11-8 in favor of the visitors.

An Elk River time out seemed to ignite the Elks. They went on an 11-0 run and built a double-figure lead which they eventually held to the end of the contest. Clay Elrod led all scorers with 18 points. Sophomore guard Jackson Greenwaldt was the only Knight to hit double digits with 10 points.

“In high school you need to come right out of the gate to play,” Anfenson said. “Jackson can score, but we really need the Erik Johnson’s, Cole Krutzig’s and Brian Ferry’s to score. It’s tough to win with 15 year olds. You need the older kids who are stronger to step up.”

Coming off a tough loss, the Knights hit the road for the first time this year and unlike the Elk River game, the Knights jumped out to an early 16-4 advantage over St. Cloud Tech.

Once again it was Greenwaldt and fellow sophomore Trevor Rothstein paving the way offensively. Greenwaldt would finish with 15 points and Rothstein added 13. But the key to the game was the play of senior guard Cole Krutzig.

“Cole did so many things well that game,” Anfenson said. “He scored 15 points and did a really nice job getting to loose balls and had a nice floor game.”

The game had its share of tense moments. St. Cloud Tech’s Andy Foley single handedly kept the Tigers in the contest, pouring in a game high 30 points. At one point, the Knights lead dwindled to as little as two points.

“Next time we play them we’ll have to do a better job of defending him,” Anfenson said. “They got back into the game because we were fouling too many times and they scored some points with the clock not running.”

The Knights finished the week with a 54-49 road loss at Sartell-St. Stephen. The Sabres came in with a distinct size advantage, boasting two 6-foot-7 post players. The return of a key defensive player from injury also caused problems for STMA.

“They put (Patrick Fischer) on Jackson and he caused all kinds of trouble for us,” Anfenson said. “He was physical on Jackson and was a difference maker. We also gave up a lot of size on the front line.”

Fischer only scored one point but finished with five steals, five assists and one block. Greenwaldt had 13 points and Rothstein finished with 12. Senior Brian Ferry had eight points and nine rebounds in the loss.

The Knights return home this Thursday at 7:15 p.m. against Brainerd. Saturday afternoon they travel north to Bemidji.