The visiting Isle Huskies defeated the Pine River-Backus Tigers 94-69 on Friday, Feb. 22. The Tigers fall to 1-24 overall, and were scheduled to finish the regular season at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley on Feb. 26.
Isle got out to an early lead, based on tough defense and an inside presence on offense. The Tigers got into foul trouble early, preventing any momentum that they tried to get going.
The game did not start off well for the home team. The Tigers struggled to get the ball up the court due to the Isle full court pressure. Typically PR-B has had moderate success against full court pressure on the season, often making teams pay for the defensive strategy, but during this game, the Huskies were able to score a lot of baskets on turnovers created from this pressure.
Even when the Tigers were able to get the ball to the offensive end, the Isle defense showed that they could play tough in the half court as well. On the Tigers first possession, the Huskies blocked a shot and brought the ball down court, fed the ball inside and scored a basket that the Tigers defense was powerless to defend.
The Tigers defensive pressure led to turnovers as well. On the following possession by the Huskies, PR-B forced Isle into a travel, but unfortunately, they were unable to get points from the turnover.
The Huskies got out to a quick start to the game, scoring 18 of the games first 22 points, to find themselves up 18-4, with 10:37 left in the first half. The Tigers got into foul trouble early, with six early fouls and three by senior Beau Howard in the first half alone.
When Isle started getting baskets inside, the Tigers began putting pressure in the paint, but the Huskies kicked the ball outside to a player standing behind the arc for a successful 3-point attempt on two of the next three scoring possessions to widen the lead further.
The Tigers were aggressive in the paint as well, with Henry Krecklau getting fouled on a turnaround jumper. Krecklau was able to convert both of his free throws, which was a theme of the game, as he went an impressive 9 for 10 for the game, seven coming in the first half.
The Tigers were down by a wide margin going into the locker room, 48-29. The second half did go better for the Tigers than the first half. Howard scored the vast majority of his points in the second half. After being held to two points in the first half, Howard scored 19 after halftime. Howard was able to score a variety of ways – free throws, drives in the lane, a 3-pointer, and going 4-for-4 from the free throw line
PR-B was almost able to match the Huskies on the scoreboard in the second half, scoring 40 compared to the Huskies 46 points, but it would not be enough to overcome the large deficit from the opening eighteen minutes. The Tigers were able to get scoring from a variety of sources, with ten players scoring points in the game and three players in double digits.
Scoring Summary: The Tigers had scoring from a variety of players, led by Howard, who had 21 points. PR-B did well at the free-throw line, going 20 for 26 as a team, led by a 9 for 10 effort by Krecklau, who had 13 points. Krecklau also contributed on the boards, with a team-high seven rebounds. Zach Struss also had 13 points and five boards. Travon Pederson added six points to his teams total, Coleman Larson and Hank Raph each had four points. T.J. Lukanen had three points on a successful 3-point attempt and Saul Sasse and Konrad Beuckers each had a free throw.
Red Lake 86, Tigers 52
The Red Lake Warriors defeated PR-B 86-52 in Red Lake on Tuesday, Feb. 19. The Tigers tried to keep the game close in the early stages, but eventually tough Red Lake team proved to be too much for the Tigers. The Warriors were able to play a very unselfish offensive, which allowed for points from a variety of sources, for which the Tigers had no answer.
The Tigers started off the game well, with Struss pulling in the defensive rebound on the first possession of the game for Red Lake. PR-B brought the ball down and wasted no time finding Krecklau open on a drive to the lane for the first basket of the game.
Red Lake was able to answer back with a successful 3-point attempt, which got the momentum going for the home team, kicking off a 10-0 run to give the Warriors a 10-2 lead. The Tigers attempted to climb back in the game as junior Travon Pederson made a shot from behind the arc. Another three-pointer for PR-B made it a two-point game. Red Lake was able to defeat the Tigers by a wide margin in their game back in January, but PR-B wanted to keep this game close early. After getting down by five points, the Tigers were able to answer back each time that Red Lake scored, to keep the lead to a manageable deficit.
The tipping point of the game came midway through the first half. With the Tigers matching the Warriors point-for-point, the home team turned up the heat on defense, creating a wealth of turnovers, which led to points on the offensive end. The Warriors would take a 17-12 lead and increase it by 19 straight points, before Pederson was able to make the next basket for the Tigers.
The 38-12 deficit would be too much for the young Tigers team to over come on the road. Red Lake played tough defense and often found a way to get the ball to Ryan Hottleisen, who put up a game high, 30 points for his team. He was able to lead the way in the first half, scoring 17 points to help his team cruise to a victory.
PR-B went into the locker room trailing 46-20. The second half didn’t go much better for the road team, who was outscored 40-32 during the second half as well. Red Lake saw scoring from a variety of players, with an impressive eight players recording points for the Warriors and four players scoring in double digits. The Tigers were unable to answer the offensive onslaught that the Warriors were able to mount from so many players able to find the bottom of the basket. In the end, the Tigers were forced to go home with an 86-52 defeat.
One highlight of the game was the play by Krecklau in the second half, as he scored 14 of his 16 after halftime. Krecklau missed much of the season due to a broken wrist, but has been a high point for this difficult season, as he seems to progress every game since his return.
“Henry (Krecklau) worked very hard as he tried to come back from the injury,” said PR-B coach Shaun Howard.
Krecklau shows some aggressiveness, as he is able to drive to the basket and create points for his team. One of the difficulties for the Tigers this season has been an inability to match their opponents scoring at critical times. The bulk of the scoring has come from Howard and Struss, when teams are able to shut down either, the Tigers have needed a third scoring option, which Krecklau appears capable of being.
Scoring Summary: The Tigers were led by Krecklau, who scored a team high 16 points. Struss contributed 10 points, six coming in the first half. Travon Pederson had 7 points, six coming from 3-point attempts in the first half. Beau Howard added 4 points to his teams total, Cody Mager and Konrad Beuckers had 3 points a piece. T. J. Lukanen, Tony Pederson, and Saul Sasse added two points each to their teams total.