Boys Basketball: Cannon Falls drops 4th game against ranked teamsThe Eagles used a game-high 27 points from Mark Pagel -- 16 in the second half -- to hand the Bombers a 58-53 loss.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
CANNON FALLS - Cannon Falls keeps staying with the top teams in Class 2A.
The Bombers were within 10 points of 10th-ranked Maple River in the second game of the season, and nine points away from second-ranked St. Peter. Cannon Falls held leads at halftime in both of those losses, and on Saturday, the Bombers were leading ninth-ranked Rochester Lourdes again at the break.
Now, Cannon Falls needs to work on holding those leads.
The Eagles used a game-high 27 points from Mark Pagel -- 16 in the second half -- to hand the Bombers a 58-53 loss.
“We just got to work on finishing,” Cannon Falls head coach Josh Davisson said. “Luckily, it’s still just January. Hopefully in February it pays off. Hopefully we can get over that hump. … It hurts to lose this one but it doesn’t kill us.”
Brock Peterson had 11 points to lead the Bombers. Jordan Lundell and Austin Noble each tallied 10 points. Noah Callister finished with nine points and seven rebounds for Cannon Falls.
Missed layups played a crucial role in the Bombers’ inability to hold on against the Eagles Saturday. Cannon Falls (6-7, 3-1 HVL Blue) shot 21 of 50 from the field, but shot less than 50 percent inside the 3-point line.
“We missed a couple easy ones,” Bombers’ guard Paul Rolfes said. “Nine out of 10 times you make those.”
“It kills you because they are bunnies,” Davisson added. “You’ve got to finish. Those are supposed to be the highest percentage shots you take. In a 5-point game, any three of those would do it, especially when you shoot four free throws.”
Rochester Lourdes (10-3) had a significant advantage at the free-throw line, making 14 of 25 while the Bombers made all four of their attempts.
Cannon Falls was ahead the majority of the first half but its largest lead was six points at 24-18 with 5 minutes, 1 second remaining before halftime. The Bombers got two free throws by Rolfes with 4.8 seconds left in the half to take a 29-27 lead into halftime.
“We know we can compete with them,” Rolfes said. “Our goal was to slow down the pace. For the most part, I think we were really good at executing the game plan.”
Lundell knocked down a jump shot at 17:05 of the second half to give Cannon Falls another 6-point lead at 33-27. After that point, the Bombers struggled to get good shots and to get open shots to fall. The Eagles went on a 10-4 run that ended with a basket by Dan Sloan to tie the game at 37-37 with 10:12 left. Noble followed with his third consecutive hook shot to give Cannon Falls the lead back.
It was the Bombers’ final lead of the game.
Jacob Schaefer, who finished with 19 points, scored consecutive baskets for Lourdes first lead of the second half with 7:20 remaining and a couple crucial turnovers sealed Cannon Falls’ fate. The Bombers finished with just six turnovers but four came in the final five minutes of the game.
“When you get close at the end, you get tight,” Davisson said.
“It’s always tough to lose a game like this,” Rolfes added.
The early-season schedule has tested Cannon Falls, but Davisson said it’s helped the team come together through the adversity.
“You want to quit telling the guys they are moral victories,” he said, “but I think these guys have grown from it. They are starting to be confident playing with each other.”
The Bombers travel to face Triton Tuesday in Dodge Center.