Boys Basketball: Red Wing fades down stretch against River FallsThe first 11 minutes of Saturday’s game between Red Wing and River Falls had the makings of a blowout.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
The first 11 minutes of Saturday’s game between Red Wing and River Falls had the makings of a blowout.
The Wingers couldn’t get anything in the hoop and, well, the Wildcats were hitting plenty of shots.
Red Wing scored on its first possession of the game but then went 16 consecutive possessions without another basket, a stretch in which the Wingers turned the ball over seven times and missed nine shots.
But two 3-pointers by Jon Sevlie and a series of stops got Red Wing right back in the game at 18-12 with six minutes left in the half. The Wingers clawed their way back into the game -- and actually held a lead with three minutes remaining in regulation -- but the effort needed to come back from a 16-point deficit early was too much for Red Wing in a 63-52 loss.
“There’s a lot of frustration because everybody worked their butts off,” Sevlie said. “In the first half, we gave it away a little. It just takes more energy coming back from 16 down. You just run out of gas.”
Sevlie led the Wingers (1-1) with 19 points and made four 3-pointers. He was the catalyst for Red Wing’s turnaround but fouled out with 1:17 remaining and the Wingers trailing 55-52.
“Jon puts a lot of time into basketball,” Red Wing head coach Doug Toivonen said. “He got in rhythm and hit some big shots today.”
The Wildcats had just four players score in the game, but all four were in double digits as they had 58 points in the paint. Luke Murphy led with 20 points and five rebounds, but also committed five turnovers. Brad Freeborn tallied 18 points, Alex Call scored 15 points and Eric Wunrow contributed 10 points.
River Falls was too much for the Wingers out of the gate, establishing a 16-2 lead at the 10:52 mark of the first half. Red Wing’s initial defense was stopping the Wildcats but River Falls was getting fast break points and baskets late in the possession.
“They’re a very strong team,” Toivonen said of the Wildcats. “Our man-to-man defense was very good tonight. It’s tough to complain where we’re at defensively.”
The Wingers’ defense did tighten up from that point on as they went on a 15-5 run to pull within 21-19 with 1:41 left in the half. Luke Bryant, Red Wing’s second-leading scorer Saturday with 11 points, hit a floater in the lane at the buzzer to send the Wingers into halftime trailing just 25-22.
“I thought once we adjusted … our kids played very well,” Toivonen said.
Red Wing controlled the beginning of the second half, taking its first lead of the game 36-34 on a 2-pointer from Ryan Boldt with 12:29 left in the game. Boldt finished with 10 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals.
From that point on there were 10 lead changes and two ties before River Falls took control of the game at 53-52 with two minutes left in the game, starting a 10-0 run to seal the victory.
The Wingers dealt with foul trouble most of the night in a physical and inconsistently called game on both sides from the referees. Red Wing was whistled for 25 fouls to 14 for the Wildcats but Rivers Falls also had multiple missed possession calls go against them in the win.
Sevlie and Bryant both fouled out and two other Wingers had four fouls.
“That was very much like a Missota Conference game,” said Toivonen of the physicality of Saturday’s game. “We just had a couple key possessions at the end that went against us and put us behind the 8-ball.”
Next up, Red Wing will play East Ridge at home Tuesday and host Albert Lea Thursday.