Alexandria boys' basketball: Shooting problems persistThe Alex boys' basketball team saw a halftime lead disappear against New Prague last week
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
The Alexandria boys’ basketball team showed what it can do when shots are falling through one half last Friday night.
The Cardinals overcame a slow start to take a 25-21 lead into the break over a 3-1 New Prague team. Junior guard Brandon Bistodeau hit two threes during that stretch and Chase Kohler added another as Alexandria got good looks out of its half-court offense.
Those same looks didn’t fall after halftime. The Cardinals were held to 22 points through the final 18 minutes, and New Prague used an 8-0 run out of the locker room to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The Trojans carried that to a 56-47 win that knocked Alexandria to 1-4 on the season.
“The biggest thing for us is we played with some heart and some energy,” head coach Forrest Witt said. “We played for our teammates, and that is something that I think was sorely missing from the first four games of the season. Maybe part of that is my fault. We do have a lot of new guys playing with each other, but if we compete like that, we’re going to be just fine.”
So often it comes down to simply making shots. That’s something that Alexandria is struggling to do right now. The Cardinals took a step in the right direction against the Trojans after going 4-of-13 from beyond the arc. But Joe Gorghuber hit the only triple of the second half, and Alexandria is shooting less than 20 percent from three on the season.
“I think we’re around 15 percent,” Witt said. “And those are pretty quality looks. You’re not going to win games shooting that way, but we feel like we have some guys who are capable of stepping up. We have some kids who are starting to work their way into some varsity minutes who are capable of shooting the ball, as well.”
It didn’t help that junior guard John Vogeler was still on the bench in a shirt and tie with a lingering ankle injury last Friday night. He was this team’s second leading scorer last season and showed an ability to put points up in bunches when he was on.
Vogeler is expected to be out until after Christmas. Witt hopes he can return by the time Alexandria goes to Brainerd on January 3. Getting Vogeler back into the mix will help, but getting others to regain their confidence is also a necessary step this team needs to take.
“It’s one of those things where you start to play mind games with yourself a little bit,” Witt said. “We’ve been telling those guys that when you’re open, you’ve got to look to shoot the basketball. It’s something that can be lost very quickly, that confidence. We certainly don’t want that to happen, but if we work from the inside out, we’re going to continue to get shots, and hopefully they’ll knock them down.”
Senior forward Logan Doyle finished with a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds for Alexandria. David Krivanek added 10 and was the only other Cardinals player in double figures.
Shooting can be inconsistent for any team, but defense and the other intangibles can always be there. Witt was happy with the energy and effort his guys brought to the game against the Trojans. That gave them an opportunity to get a win against a quality opponent. That’s what he wants to see more of as the Cardinals try to dig their way out of a slow start to the season.
“It can either be lip service or you can get the job done,” Witt said. “It’s one thing to say, ‘Yep, I’m going to do it next time.’ Then it doesn’t happen. You have to do it. That’s how you gain the respect of your teammates. It’s not anything you’re saying. They see what you do, and if you get guys to do that, everybody will follow along.
“We saw some guys do that tonight. Ted Deitz is the one who really has led the drive with that. He took three charges alone [on Thursday night]. Nobody else had taken one on the year before tonight. We had a couple guys that took them, and we had a couple guys who had opportunities to take them that need to take them and help their team out.”
The Cardinals have an opportunity to get things moving in the right direction with two more games this week. They were scheduled to travel to Little Falls (3-0) last night, Tuesday, before welcoming in Detroit Lakes (1-2) on Thursday. The 1-4 start isn’t what this team had in mind. Now it’s on Alexandria to figure out how to turn things around.
“It’s a long season,” Witt said. “The biggest thing they have to understand is why did we put ourselves in a position to win this basketball game tonight? The reason is we had energy and we executed for a good chunk in the first half. The second half was sporadic, but any time you compete hard and you play together, you’re going to give yourself a chance.”
ALEXANDRIA 25 22 – 47
NEW PRAGUE 21 35 – 56
TOTALS – Alexandria – FG – 15-33; Three-point FG – 4-13; Free throws – 15-22; Assists – 9; Blocks – 6; Rebounds – 22; Steals – 3; Turnovers – 11; New Prague – FG – 21-53; Three-point FG – 4-11; Free throws – 10-16
ALEXANDRIA – Bistodeau – 6 points, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 rebound; Kevin Setterstrom – 1 assist, 1 rebound; Gorghuber – 6 points, 3 assists, 1 block, 3 rebounds, 1 steal; Kohler – 3 points; Krivanek – 10 points, 2 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal; Doyle – 18 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 blocks, 1 steal; Blake Stockert – 2 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound; Deitz – 2 points, 2 rebounds