By Rob LaPlante
It took the final home game of the season last year – a 56-55 playoff loss to Moorhead on March 6, 2011 – for the St. Michael-Albertville boys’ basketball team to lose two games on its home court.
A 69-60 loss Dec. 13th to Brainerd, as of Monday, dropped the Knights to 2-3 overall and 1-2 on their home floor. They previously lost 63-41 at home on Dec. 4th to Elk River.
“We’ve gone years where we only lose one game at home,” said head coach Tim Anfenson. “It’s critical to take care of your home court.”
The undefeated Warriors came into the contest coming off an 80-57 win over a Sartell-St. Stephen squad that had previously defeated STMA 54-49 the prior game.
Thursday’s showdown started with both teams trading early buckets. Brainerd’s Jack Sauer scored 13 first half points to give the Warriors a slight 30-28 halftime advantage. Senior guard Cole Krutzig hit two consecutive three-pointers in the first half to keep the game close, but Krutzig had to watch from the sidelines more so than normal due to early foul trouble.
“He didn’t play the last 10 minutes or so of the first half,” said Anfenson, on his senior guard picking up three fouls in the first 10 minutes of the game. “The fouls he got are touch fouls that he needs to learn to avoid. After the three’s, he never got into the swing of things.”
Senior forward Brian Ferry registered a season high 12 points and eight rebounds but he committed four turnovers, including one late in the game that proved costly.
“Yeah, I hit a couple shots,” said a dejected Ferry afterwards. “But I had numerous turnovers and I wasn’t really a factor on the boards. I was pretty hot and cold too.”
With Krutzig on the bench and senior Erik Johnson and Ferry both struggling with consistency, Anfenson had to rely again on his sophomores for key minutes.
Sophomore Jackson Greenwaldt finished with 14 points. It was the fourth straight game Greenwaldt has led the Knights in scoring. Sophomore Trevor Rothstein scored seven points and fellow sophomore’s Noah Evans and Josh Tracy also found extended playing time.
“We’ve been relying on Trevor a little bit and he wasn’t a factor in this game,” Anfenson said. “You never know what you’re going to get with them young guys. We’re asking Jackson to do too much of the scoring and we need some other guys to make some plays.”
While the Knights were struggling to find their game with youth, Sauer and forward Marcus Comstock were two of 11 seniors dressed for Brainerd. Sauer was hot from the field, hitting on seven of nine attempts. He also connected on four three pointers and finished with a game total of 31 points. Comstock scored eight of his 16 points from the free throw line.
The Knights were looking to get back to their winning ways hosting a winless Becker team on Tuesday night (results were unavailable at deadline). Thursday night they host Hutchinson at 7:15 p.m. The Knights will then be off for Christmas break and return to action Dec. 28-29 at the St. Cloud Apollo Tournament.