By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
Tuesday night featured a Knights team with eight days of rest going against a Buffalo team looking for consecutive win number 14 to clinch the Mississippi 8 conference championship.
What followed was a competitive game with some big performances from key players. Both teams battled in the first half and Buffalo came away with a 24-19 halftime lead. In the second half, both teams turned up the heat offensively.
Collin Olmscheid proved too tough to tame as the senior star dropped 30 points on the Knights. Sam Ortmann had 13 and Levi Bean added 10. The three combined for 53 of Buffalo’s 59 points as the Bison knocked off the Knights to clinch the conference title.
The Knights also had three players score most of the points. Jackson Greenwaldt led STMA with 18 points. Trevor Rothstein had 13 and Jaylen Hakes scored 10. After upsetting St. Francis in the previous game, Coach Tim Anfenson considered this game a disappointment.
“It didn’t go very good. We didn’t play up to our ability for whatever reason, didn’t seem to be clicking,” he said, adding that he felt the team lost its edge.
STMA faced Sartell-St. Stephen in a home game as the Knights tried to get back on track. Sartell proved tough from the get-go, forcing several turnovers. Neither team shot well in the opening half, and the scoreboard stayed stuck on 20-18 for a while. STMA grabbed a 22-18 lead, only to see it evaporate right before halftime.
Leading by a point, Sartell came out and pressured the Knights into more turnovers. STMA struggled mightily at times to score. Greenwaldt put the team on his back with a strong performance (25 points, five rebounds). Rothstein added 11 points and Hakes had five. Those three scored all of STMA’s points as the Knights lost 49-41.
Coach Anfenson did not mince words about his team’s performance.
“Sartell outplayed us, and they outcoached us, and they out-hustled us, and they got us in every department. It was a sound defeat. They played better than we did. No excuses.”
STMA rebounded from a rough two game stretch with a victory over Duluth East at home in an afternoon game.
Rothstein led the Knights with 16 points, Greenwaldt scored 11 and the Knights got a big contribution from Josh Tracy, who went a perfect 4-4 from the field and 3-3 from the free throw line for 11 points of his own.
After grabbing an eight point lead at halftime, the Knights lost the lead when Duluth East hit some three pointers to tie the game. Free throws proved to be the difference in the game, as STMA scored 18 points from the charity stripe.
The Knights came away with a 60-54 victory after building a lead late in the game. Coach Anfenson felt better about this game, as his team showed toughness and played with more intensity than it had lately.
The Knights headed to Rogers Tuesday for a regular season finale against the Royals. STMA went in at 12-12, trying to clinch a winning record.