Rockets rebound to top DC for first victory
BY DAVID PEDERSEN
Rockford gave it a shot at stopping the unbeaten streak put together by the Delano boys basketball team, but fell way shy like the rest.
The Tigers defeated neighbor Rockford 83-47 in a non-conference game last week. Delano followed with a 60-44 triumph over Monticello, improving to 5-0.
Rockford may not have stopped Delano’s win streak, but did put a halt to its own four-game losing streak with a 68-51 win over Dassel-Cokato.
“We got off to a great start when we made our first 10 shots and jumped ahead 29-7 after six minutes,” said Tiger coach Terry Techam about Delano led 54-25 at halftime.
Delano was one point away from having five players score in double figures. Zach Checkal led with 23 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals. Adam Schleper scored 18 points with five steals and three assists.
Toby Hanson netted 13 points with four assists. Damon Longstreet had 12 points and seven rebounds and Dalton Pulis added nine points with four rebounds and three assists.
Rockford was paced by the junior duo of Brock Deering (15 points and seven rebounds) and Nick Tully (14 points) as players in double figures.
“They came out firing and got up on us 19-2,” said Rockford coach Michael Tauber. “We shot 29 percent, going 17 for 58 against a ranked team that shot 54 percent. Some of it has to do with their size, their pressure and us not ready to play at that level yet.”
Reserves struggled for Rockford when hitting 2 of 18 shots from the field. The good news for the Rockets was shooting 71 percent from the free throw line and being outrebounded by only three.
The Rockets spread out the offense in the victory over Dassel-Cokato. Four players scored in double figures, not including Deering, the top scorer on the season. He was feeling ill and did not play in the second half.
Jordan Redepenning scored 11 points with six assists. Joey Richardt, Brendon Schumacher and Tully each hit for 10. Schumacher pulled down 11 rebounds and Tully had eight steals and five assists.
Eleven Rockets scored points, including Deering (seven points and six rebounds), Logan Suko (5), Jesse Gabler (4), Joe Agre (4), Alex Shaikoski (2), Ben Arens (3) and Karsten Poulsen (2).
“We built a nice lead which we extended to 37-16 at the half,” said Tauber about his team shooting 58 percent in the half against DC. “Our defensive trap was able to force 23 turnovers and turn steals into layups. Every bench player who stepped on the court contributed in one way or another.”
Tigers overcome Monticello
Delano also got going early against Monticello to lead 21-13, but faded to trail 26-25 at the half. Monticello went on a 13-4 run and scored at the buzzer.
“We struggled to score the first couple minutes of the second half, but we played pretty good defense to keep Monticello from scoring,” adds Techam. “Then we got on a little run to go up 41-28. We made some free throws down the stretch to seal the game.”
Checkal was held to four points in the first half but came on strong to finish with 23 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and six steals.
Techam said Hanson had a very nice all-around game, played good defense and moved the ball on offense. The junior scored 11 points with four assists and three rebounds.
Zach Muckenhirn started in place of Dalton Pulis, who has been battling some sickness. Pulis did play and came up with 12 points and seven rebounds.
“Seth Norling gave us some great energy off the bench and did a great job of defending Monticello’s leading scorer,” said Techam. “Arick Neisen had four rebounds off the bench.”
Delano plays at Sauk Center-Rice, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21.
Rockford is home to Foley Dec. 21 and against West Lutheran Dec. 22.
In five of Rockford’s first six games teams are 23-1 on the season. Tauber adds, “We use those games to learn what we need to do to beat those teams, which is our goal at the end.”