Alexandria boys' basketball: Cardinals rebound against Jacks
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
The Alexandria boys’ basketball team needed a game like it got on Saturday night.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 42-28 halftime lead over Bemidji, then rolled on to an 83-51 victory as Logan Doyle dominated the paint. He finished with a game-high 28 points and 28 rebounds. Doyle hit 11-of-18 shots, went 6-of-7 from the free throw line and added five blocks to his line.
It was a welcome relief for an Alexandria team that was coming off another close loss from the night before. The Cardinals had an opportunity to knock off the top team in the Central Lakes Conference, but like has happened so many times this season, they came up just short in a 56-54 game against Brainerd.
“It’s really hard to explain,” junior guard John Vogeler said after finishing with a game-high 21 points against the Warriors. “We’ve been there every step of the way for the whole season. If we lost a game, other than Moorhead, it’s been within 10 points.”
Perhaps an easy win over a 1-17 Bemidji team can be the boost this team needs. Alexandria surpassed its season-high points total by 22 points and never left any doubt against the Lumberjacks. The Cardinals put the game away by outscoring Bemidji 41-23 over the final 18 minutes.
Vogeler backed up his 21 points against Brainerd with 22 on Saturday. He showed his versatility by not settling for deep three-pointers on both nights. Vogeler was 8-of-13 from inside the arc against Bemidji and 6-of-8 from two against the Warriors.
He gave Alexandria a chance against Brainerd by being aggressive off the dribble. Vogeler had 17 of his 21 points in the second half and just three of those came from behind the arc. That got him to the free-throw line, where he made six, and helped get a lot of easy buckets around the basket off dribble penetration.
“Since last year, I was attacking a lot,” Vogeler said. “The coaches, we sat down and watched film and really looked at what I need to do as a player. Instead of just sitting on the three-point line and instead of just moving without the ball, it’s getting to the basket. That’s my strength, is getting to the hoop, and that’s what I need to do more. If I do that, and they know I can drive, that opens up my outside shot.”
Junior forward Chase Kohler added 11 and Doyle finished with 10 points to go along with 14 rebounds and five blocks against the Warriors. Both players hit threes in the final minute of play to keep the pressure on Brainerd. Doyle’s triple cut Alexandria’s deficit to two, but it came with less than five seconds left on the clock. The Warriors smartly let the time tick off without even inbounding the ball as they held on to improve to 17-1 overall and to 10-0 in the CLC.
“Other than Moorhead, with how we’ve played, we could have beaten every team we’ve played so far,” Vogeler said. “We’re there in every single game. We’re not a bad team or anything. We’re just not there when it comes down to the little things. Look at the score; 54-56. We could have easily, easily won this game.”
The Cardinals couldn’t get the big stop when they needed it and the Warriors were clutch from the free throw line down the stretch. A Vogeler jump shot cut his team’s deficit to 47-46 with 2:44 left in the game. But on the Warriors’ ensuing possession, senior forward Marcus Comstock got a step on the defense to make a lay-up as he was fouled.
Comstock went to the free-throw line and hit the first of the five freebies he would hit in the closing minutes. He finished 6-for-6 from the line overall and Tony Sauer added a couple more big free throws in the final minute to secure the win.
Brainerd finished with four players in double figures. Jacob Blong and Jack Sauer each had 13, while Comstock and T. Sauer added 11 and 10, respectively. That helped the Warriors separate themselves even further from the rest of the CLC field, where they hold a four-game lead in the loss column over second-place Rocori.
Alexandria fell to 3-8 in conference play with the loss and improved to 6-11 overall after the Bemidji win. The Cardinals had three more games this week to try and build on the win over the Lumberjacks. They went to Morris last night, Tuesday, before welcoming in Sauk Rapids-Rice on Thursday. Alexandria will then travel to Moorhead for a rematch of the season opener against the Spuds on Friday night.
“It’s there,” Vogeler said of where the team’s confidence sits at. “We go hard every day. We know what we can do. We know what we’re capable of as a team. We’re sad after a loss, but we use that as motivation to become better as a team and as personal players, too.”
ALEXANDRIA 42 41 – 83
BEMIDJI 28 23 – 51
TOTALS – Alexandria – FG – 31-61; Three-point FG – 2-14; FT – 19-28; Assists – 16; Blocks – 6; Rebounds – 51; Turnovers – 18; Bemidji – Bemidji – FG – 18-70; Three-point FG – 11-50; FT – 4-9; Rebounds – 19; Turnovers – 7
ALEXANDRIA – Brandon Bistodeau – 9 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds; Kevin Setterstrom – 1 assist; Kris Setterstrom – 1 rebound; Vogeler – 22 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds; Joe Gorghuber – 11 points, 4 assists, 1 block, 5 rebounds; Travis Krueger – 2 points; Kohler – 4 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound; David Krivanek – 5 points, 1 assist, 2 rebounds; Doyle – 28 points, 28 rebounds, 3 assists, 5 blocks; Bennett Schuneman - 1 rebound
ALEXANDRIA 16 38 – 54
BRAINERD 26 30 – 56
TOTALS – Alexandria – FG – 19-46; Three-point FG – 6-25; Free throws – 11-12; Assists – 10; Blocks – 5; Rebounds – 30; Steals – 6; Turnovers – 18; Brainerd – FG – 18-40; Three-point FG – 4-17; FT – 16-23; Rebounds – 15; Turnovers – 5
ALEXANDRIA – Bistodeau – 4 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal; K. Setterstrom – 1 assist; Vogeler – 21 points, 2 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals; Gorghuber – 3 points, 1 rebound; Kohler – 11 points, 2 rebounds; Krivanek – 2 points, 1 assist, 4 rebounds; Doyle – 10 points, 3 assists, 5 blocks, 14 rebounds, 3 steals