Royals win a pair, lose a pair in first days of February
SUN PRESS Newspapers
Heading into February, Rogers varsity boys basketball carried a 6-11 record with their first conference win against Big Lake (82-74) on Jan. 29. They let undefeated Buffalo edge them out of a second conference win in a 68-65 heartbreaker.
The Rogers boys basketball team was not about to let Monticello — winless in the conference — get the best of them. Although Monticello’s strong rebounding challenged the Royals early on, Rogers turned up the intensity during the second half and powered away with their second conference win during the Feb. 7 matchup. The 80-71 defeat over the Magic ups Rogers’ conference record to 2-3 and overall record to 8-12.
Monticello fouls put the Royals on the line during the first half where they demonstrated strong free throw capabilities. A pair of threes by senior Luke Pecka and solid shooting by seniors Ryan Gelle and Cullen Loughlin kept Rogers neck and neck with Monticello going into the half. Loughlin posted 14 points against Monticello.
The teams continued to trade basket for basket during the second half which transitioned into scrappy play chasing after loose balls for several minutes in the second half. The Royals were able to capitalize on the rough and tumble action with fast break points and three point plays after the foul, pulling ahead midway through the second half.
Rogers’ defense thwarted Monticello’s ability to penetrate into the paint forcing them predominantly to taking outside shots.
Earlier in the week, Rogers walked away with an 82-67 victory in a non-league contest against St. Francis Feb. 12. Senior Ryan Gelle was the high scorer against St. Francis with 26 points followed by Loughlin’s 22 points.
The pair of wins was followed by a Saturday night pummeling from Champlin Park High School Feb. 9. The non-league game matched Rogers, a team struggling to stay afloat in the Mississippi 8 conference with one of the powerhouses of the Northwest Suburban Conference. Champlin Park took a masterful lead early on, ahead by 20 points within the first ten minutes of the game. They kept a commanding lead until the final 89-53 result in Champlin Park’s favor.
Rogers’ Luke Pecka earned a dozen points and Reid Sagehorn followed up with 8.
Rogers head out on the road for a conference challenge against St. Michael-Albertville Feb. 12. They will face off against conference challenger Cambridge-Isanti Friday, Feb. 15 at home. Game time is 7:15 p.m.