By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
The Moorhead Spuds have done its share of damage to spoil the party the last couple seasons for the St. Michael-Albertville boys’ basketball team.
In a rematch of last year’s opening round of the Section 8AAAA playoffs, it was the Spuds once again coming out victorious with a 63-54 win Jan. 8 at St. Michael.
Moorhead – the defending Section 8AAAA champs – knocked off the Knights 56-55 in overtime last March and with both Austin Nelson and Aaron Lien returning for one final go, STMA knew they had its hands full.
“Their two best players were back and I thought we did a nice job on Nelson,” said head coach Tim Anfenson. “We had some nice moments in that game. The difference was Lien. He’s a great player and he definitely came through for them.”
Lien – a Minnesota State-Moorhead recruit, ended up with 29 points in the win for the Spuds. Sophomore Jackson Greenwaldt scored 14 points for the Knights. Senior Erik Johnson finished with 11 points and senior Cole Krutzig had 10. Dallas Freeman finished with a game-high 10 rebounds.
STMA 78, Princeton 63
If you like offense, bring on the Princeton Tigers. The Knights scored a season high 78 points in a 78-63 home victory Jan. 10 over the Tigers.
Princeton (2-9 overall) is second to only St. Cloud Cathedral in the Granite Ridge Conference, scoring 70.3 points per game. Their problem is defense. The Tigers are allowing 78.2 points per game.
“They really like to open things up offensively,” Anfenson said. “We knew going in they like to run. It’s not my favorite style to play. I’m more conventional.”
The Knights used their athletic ability, particularly from their fastest guy on the team to help build a 44-24 halftime advantage. Junior Dallas Freeman helped spark a late first half run that opened up a 21-16 lead into a 20-point advantage.
Freeman’s speed and ability to hit on 5-of-7 from the field gave him a game-high 15 points and seven rebounds.
“Dallas was really solid on defense and was able to score some points for us,” Anfenson said. “I thought Krutzig and (sophomore) Noah Evans had a nice game too.”
Krutzig was one of three Knights to finish with 11 points. Both Greenwaldt and sophomore Trevor Rothstein also had 11. Evans finished with eight points and he and Krutzig also had seven assists in the victory.
STMA (7-6 overall) was at Edina on Tuesday to take on the Hornets and future Penn State recruit Graham Woodward. Friday night at 7:15 p.m. the Knights open conference play with a contest at Rogers.