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Tigers fall short to Upsala, Wadena-DC

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The visiting Pine River-Backus Tigers boys’ basketball team was defeated by the Upsala Cardinals 102-40 on Thursday, Dec. 13.

The game home team looked good in all phases of the game. For the Tigers, this game was a learning experience. The Cardinals were able to convert PR-B mistakes into quick, easy baskets. Upsala also found ways to score under the basket and were sharp from behind the arc.

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Upsala came out of the locker room with a bang, scoring the game's first eight points, mostly on layups and a couple of steals. Throughout the game PR-B had difficulty contesting the shots from underneath the basket. Five minutes into the first half, the Tigers were down by a score of 13-4.

One area where the Cardinals were extremely successful was using team defense to stop senior guard Beau Howard, the top scorer for the Tigers in every game this season. The Cardinals collapsed on Howard every time he tried to drive the lane, often using four or all five of their defenders. Howard would usually attempt a pass to a teammate on the outside, but the Tigers were unable to convert those chances into points.

After scoring most of their points inside, Upsala’s long-range shots started to fall. Three of their next four baskets came from behind the arc, showing 24-4 on the scoreboard, before PR-B would score the next basket of the game on a shot by Freshman center Zach Struss. The basket would be two of Struss’s eight points for the night.

Upsala answered with the game's next 13 points to widen their lead to the insurmountable 37-6. The Cardinals were not a one-dimensional team. Throughout the game they scored from a variety of sources and scored a number of ways. They were able to turn nearly all of their turnovers into points in the offensive zone.

The Cardinals went into the locker room with a comfortable 59-16 advantage over the visiting team at intermission.

After the half, the Cardinals kept up their onslaught, scoring the first several points. The Tigers didn’t give up and started to put some points on the board as well. With five minutes left in the game, Upsala was up 96-33 before ultimately winning 102-40.

The Cardinals were definitely a superior team to the young PR-B squad. The Tigers Head Coach Shaun Howard believes that Upsala has enough talent to do well in the state tournament. They were unselfish, took advantage of any mistakes their opponents made, and had the ability to score more than one way.

Scoring Summary: The Tigers were led by Howard with 11 points while Zach Struss added eight and made four of five shots from the field. Tony Pederson had six points, successfully converting three of four attempts. Konrad Bueckers also had sixth points on two successful 3-point shots. Travon Pederson had three points while Hank Raph, T.J. Lukanen, and Zach Semmler each had two.

Wadena-DC 67, Tigers 52

PR-B was defeated by the visiting Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines on Tuesday, Dec. 11.

The game was closer than the final score, as the Tigers found themselves down by only five points with five minutes left, before ultimately winding up on the losing end of a well-played game by both sides. The young PR-B squad had several chances to end up with a victory in front of an excited home crowd, but were unable to stop the Wolverines in the final minutes.

The Tigers scored the first points of the game on a drive by Howard, who drove to the basket for two-points and was fouled in the process. Howard was able to convert the three-point play with a successful free throw. Wadena scored the next four points of the game on a couple of free throws and a layup to take the lead.

Travon Pederson answered back with a three-pointer, one of his three successful attempts from behind the arc during the game. The Wolverines picked up the tempo of the game on offense and scored the next two baskets quickly on passes underneath the basket for layups.

The first half was an exciting back and forth by both teams. Neither team was able to get any momentum for an extended period of time, before the other team would quickly answer with a score. After successful long-range baskets by both teams, W-DC had compiled a 15-9 lead. However, Howard was able to drive and find a basket and a foul to get his team to within three points.

Once again each team traded baskets until the score was knotted up at 25-25 in front of an excited Pine River crowd. The Tigers had a chance to get a lead on a steal, but were unable to convert the fast break into points. On the next possession, the Tigers were able turn a steal into a basket, only to watch the Wolverines tie the game, with 2:28 left in the half.

W-DC took the lead on a three-pointer, but the Tigers answered on a long-range shot by Howard, one of his three successful three-pointers for the game. The teams went to halftime with the visiting team leading 36-32 in a tightly contested match.

PR-B scored the first points of the second half on a layup by junior center, Saul Sasse, to pull within two points. W-DC scored the game's next five points on a basket and a three-point shot. Howard answered back with two more of his team-high 21 points on a twelve-foot jump shot.

The Tigers were in the middle of a 12-4 run, which consisted of seven points by Howard and five points by freshman center, Zach Struss, to find the Tigers up 46-45. Just as the game's momentum had shifted in favor of the home team, the Wolverines scored a couple of important baskets on a long-range jumper and a tough layup.

PR-B is a young team, and the excitement may have got the best of them as the Wolverines went on a 12-2 run of their own after finding themselves down by one point after leading for the majority of the game. Their offensive onslaught included tough baskets inside and 17-foot jumpers, but much of the run was based on the Tigers' inability to find a basket in the final five minutes of the game. PR-B missed a couple three-point attempts, a long jump shot, and even a makeable layup.

After the devastating run by W-DC, the Tigers were forced to foul to get back in the game, but were not successful. When the final buzzer sounded, PR-B was soundly defeated 67-52, but was not indicative of how close the game truly was throughout the first half and most of the second.

Scoring Summary: PR-B was led by Howard’s 21 points. His night included three 3-pointers and a 4-for-4 effort from the free-throw line. Travon Pederson added 12 points as he made 3 of 7 shots behind the arc. Zach Struss had nine points, T.J. Lukanen had five, Tony Pederson had three, and Saul Sasse had two.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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