By Bruce Strand
Cole Murray scored 29 points, five of them in overtime, leading the Rogers Royals to an 80-71 win over North Branch on Monday evening.
The 6-foot-9 junior center shot 13-for-15 from the field and 3-for-6 at the line, while grabbing 10 rebounds.
Coby Stoe sank 14 points off the bench, with four 3-pointers. Stoe sank a 3-pointer for a 68-66 lead in the final minute. Travis Van Elsberg, who netted 25 points for the Vikings, hit a basket to tie the score. Stoe just missed from the top of the key as time expired.
Steffan Mosoke added 12 points and got Rogers off to a good start in overtime, drawing a foul on a drive and sinking two free shots. The Royals outscored the Vikings 12-3 in the extra session.
Rogers improved to 3-6 in the Mississippi 8 and 7-12 overall, and North Branch fell to 2-8 and 6-13.
In earlier action, a spirited rally by the Rogers Royals made an exciting game of it but the Monticello Magic pulled out a 58-56 win on two free shots with 4.9 seconds left Friday evening.
Rogers, down 36-22 at the half, chipped away steadily and caught up with nine seconds left on two free shots by Steffan Mosoko.
However, Monticello, without calling a time out, threw a long inbounds pass over the Rogers defense to Brody Grantz, who had an open path to a layup. Mosoke fouled him before the shot, nullifying the layup that was made, but Grantz made both free throws.
The Royals got off two hurried shots in the time remaining that didn’t connect.
Monticello senior forward Michael Revenig scored 19 of his 20 points in the first half, sinking five 3-pointers, leading the Magic to their big halftime lead. Junior guard Erik Hammill added 19 points.
Rogers got 20 points from junior center Cole Murray, including five in the final 90 seconds. Gunnar Bloom had 10 and Coby Stoe nine.
In makeup game action (Jan. 7 game was postponed due to canceled school), St. Michael-Albertville handed the Rogers Royals a 71-63 conference loss on Thursday, Jan. 30.
Jackson Greenwaldt led the Knights (6-3 conference, 9-10 overall) with 20 points and Todd Rothstein was next with 16.
Cole Murray notched 20 points and 15 rebounds for Rogers (2-5 conference, 6-11 overall). Allen Wilson added 13 points.
The Knights were just 5-for-23 on 3-pointers but started to pull away when Rothstein hit a pair of them. They padded their lead with 18-for-22 free throw shooting in the second half, and had a 41-33 rebound edge.
Rogers was to host Cambridge-Isanti on Thursday.