Boys Basketball: Wingers hang on to beat New Prague
A familiar sense of gloom fell over Red Wing late in the first half Monday. Watching Missota Conference and Section 1AAA foe New Prague go on a 13-0 run, it felt like another victory would elude the Wingers.
But, Red Wing wasn’t about to roll over and give up to the visiting Trojans. And thanks to Ty Buck hitting six 3-pointers in the first half, the Wingers held on and knocked off New Prague 64-57.
“It’s a very encouraging win,” said Red Wing head coach Doug Toivonen. “It’s important for our kids to figure out how to win games. It was good for us to get into that late-game situation and work on some things.”
With the Wingers up 13-9, New Prague showed some fight, thanks to its zone defense. As Red Wing tried to feed the ball inside, the Trojans’ tall bodies and long wingspans clogged up the passing lanes, resulting in loose balls and easy transition buckets that allowed New Prague to go up 22-13 with 6 minutes, 6 seconds left before halftime.
“It’s definitely difficult when you have to go against three 6-foot-7 guys all across the court,” said Wingers’ guard Jon Sevlie.
Doug Toivonen added, “We just kind of got lazy taking care of the basketball. We did so well to start, and then we go on this three- or four minute-stretch where we keep turning it over. It’s just a matter of taking care of the basketball better.”
The Wingers needed to stretch the zone, and Buck’s 3-point shooting did just that. Buck hit four 3-pointers in the final 5:42 of the half, including a long-range bucket that gave the team a 28-26 lead. At the buzzer, Isaac Toivonen scored on a putback to put Red Wing up 30-28 at intermission.
Buck scored 20 of his game-high 33 points in the first half, and did it while sick to his stomach.
“The first half, the shot was falling, so I kept shooting, and coach told me to keep at it,” Buck said. “When we came in at halftime, I actually threw up. I wasn’t feeling good all game.”
“We had to do a better job offensively, and Tyrell stepped up and hit a bunch of threes for us,” Doug Toivonen said.
Trading the lead twice in the second half, the Wingers took the lead for good with 12:13 remaining after a 3-pointer by Sevlie. New Prague kept Red Wing’s lead at single digits for the entire second half, thanks to a 24-point effort by guard Tanner Milinkovich. But the Trojans could only get as close as five points in the final five minutes as the Wingers shot 13 of 14 down the stretch from the free-throw line.
“That’s how you win big games,” Coach Toivonen said of the team’s late free-throw success.
Isaac Toivonen finished the night with a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds (five offensive). Sevlie chipped in with 11 points, including a 6 of 7 effort at the free-throw line, and Nick Powers had four assists in the Wingers’ victory.
For New Prague, Michael Soderlund finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Paul Friendshuh, who is headed to Division I Richmond, had six points.
Now 13-7 overall and 3-6 in the Missota, Red Wing has two more home games this week, with Farmington on Friday and Stewartville on Saturday.
“Tonight was a good confidence win,” Sevlie said. “Hopefully, we can continue it for the rest of the week.”