Despite season-ender, Tigers focus on what got them here

Garret Pearson led the Tigers with 27 points and 14 rebounds in Braham last week. Photo by Victoria Dahlin

Garret Pearson led the Tigers with 27 points and 14 rebounds in Braham last week. Photo by Victoria Dahlin

The winter sports season ended for Rush City when the boys basketball team traveled to “The Hanger” in Braham last week.

The No. 1-3 section seeded and undefeated in the conference Bombers took down the No. 1-6 seed Tigers 96-49 in the first round of Section 7AA playoffs.

“We drew Braham in the first round of the playoffs, which is always a difficult matchup for everyone they play,” said coach Jeremy Albright. “The game started off OK. We matched them for the first several minutes, and the score was tied 10-10. Then they started hitting shots from just about every angle possible. By the time the smoke cleared in the first half they had went on a 51-14 run, and the halftime score was 61-24. They made 10 three’s during that first half.”

Continued Albright:

“Defensively we broke down many, many times during that first half. We knew what their strengths were and worked on taking those away a lot during practices, but we were unable to execute during the game. Offensively we knew that we could have the advantage inside because of our size and worked on that as well. But time and time again we refused to take advantage of that size difference.”

“The second half was a little more even, but not enough to make up for that first half deficit.

“Our kids definitely seemed emotionally ready to play and were confident in their abilities. But once that adrenaline wore off after the first part of the game, we were unable to match their intensity.

“Garret Pearson led us, as he has all year long, with another double-double: 27 points and 14 rebounds. He was able to do this even though Braham, like every team we played this year, did everything they could to take him away. Every time he got the ball they would send another defender at him.

“Although this certainly wasn’t the way anyone wants to finish the season, I told the players after the game to not focus on this game, but instead focus on the entire season.

“I thought overall the season was good. We ended up with a winning record and had a good conference record, letting us finish third in the GRC all by ourselves.

“Last year was a struggle in many, many ways, so to be able to come back and have success this year is a testament to these kids. They were a good group to coach, and I really enjoyed my time with them.

“I especially want to thank the seniors who have played their last basketball game for the Tigers: Max Maher, Dalton Folkema, Jesse Rasmussen, Alex Enns, Matt Mallinger and Garret Pearson, as well as Jenny Tryon who did stats for us. Their efforts will always be remembered and we wish them the best.”

The Tigers finished the 2012-13 season third in the Great River Conference with a 11-5 conference record and a 13-10 overall.

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