Boys Basketball: Stewartville runs away from Red Wing
Early in the first and second halves, Red Wing could keep pace with Stewartville.
But as the minutes dragged on and players got tired, the Tigers were able to outlast the host Wingers on Friday.
Ending the first half on a 19-6 run, followed by a 19-0 finish to the game, Stewartville spoiled Red Wing's season opener with a 70-42 victory in the Red Wing tip-off tournament.
"That's basketball for you. It's a game of runs," said Wingers head coach Drew Olinger. "We didn't limit their runs at all. They took a lot of really good shots. I was really impressed with that Stewartville squad. They out-executed us, they out-grinded us. We went on a couple runs on our own but they weren't big enough runs to get us back into the ballgame."
With Seth Yeatman leading the charge, Red Wing took a 10-2 lead early in the game. Then after a pair of Teddy Tauer scores, the Wingers were ahead 16-11 at the 8-minute, 54-second mark of the first half.
More important than the scoring was the undersized Red Wing squad making life tough on the Tigers' bigs like 6-foot-7 Carter Groski and 6-6 Hunter Voigt.
"We were flying around. I told the guys I was impressed with our first seven, eight minutes of the game," Olinger said. "We were flying around, we were diving for loose balls, we were winning those battles."
"Then," Olinger added, "fatigue set in. We were playing on a lot of adrenaline early and fatigue sets in and we gave up some big offensive rebounds that led to more grind-it-out possessions where they hit a three or got an easy layup."
Playing without 6-5 Nathan Carlson due to the flu, Groski and 6-6 freshman Will Tschetter both scored 17 points to lead Stewartville. Voigt had eight points while KJ Riley found some looks on the perimeter in an eight-point effort.
"Their size and length were a tough factor for us," Olinger said. "But it's not going to get any easier with the teams we face."
In the second half, Red Wing got it to 51-42 after a three-point play from Tauer and a jumper from Christian Connelly, who started his first varsity game in Carlson's absence.
"I was really impressed with Christian. He played his ass off," Olinger said. "The thing with Christian is that this was his first varsity time. He barely played any JV last year and played a ton of B-team and sophomore stuff. We liked his progress and he stepped up tonight. That was a hard ask for him."
From that point on, the Tigers scored the last 19 points of the game to secure their spot in the tournament final against Hastings, which beat Hudson 95-94.
Yeatman led Red Wing with 13 points along with four rebounds, and Tauer also finished in double figures with 10. Zach Cota had eight points, including a 2-for-4 showing from outside, and Connelly added four points and six rebounds.
At 1:30 p.m. Saturday, the Wingers (0-1) will take on Hudson.