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Boys' basketball: Cards beat Rocori for third straight win

Alexandria's John Vogeler goes up for a reverse layup against Rocori on Tuesday night. Vogeler had a game-high 25 points against the Spartans. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

The Alexandria boys’ basketball team upped its winning streak to three games on Tuesday night with a 57-46 win over Rocori.

The Cardinals came into the night knowing they needed to take care of business on their home court against a Spartans team that is now 1-15 on the season. That’s exactly what they did as they kept Rocori at an arm’s length almost all night.

“It was pretty big,” junior forward Joe Gorghuber said. “Coach has been kind of talking about getting out of our hole. We had a slump and we picked it up this weekend and it was key to get this big win.”

The Spartans were able to keep it within single digits for much of the first half before Alexandria methodically pulled away. It was a four-point game with 6:30 left in the half when the Cardinals went on a 13-6 run. That was capped off on a nice drive and dish by Brandon Bistodeau to Chase Kohler for a layup that took Alexandria into the half up 32-21.

Senior guard John Vogeler had 14 points by the break. He finished with a game-high 25. David Krivanek added eight points for the Cardinals, while Brad Fabel had 12 points to lead Rocori.

“I just tried to get to the rim first and then get outside so it’s easier to shoot those jump shots,” Vogeler said. “It was a great team effort. Guys set great screens for me, and we executed the game plan very well.”

It was the defensive effort that head coach Forrest Witt was most pleased about after the game. Alexandria hustled to loose balls and limited the second-chance opportunities the Spartans were able to get. That helped the Cardinals hold Rocori to almost 14 points below the 61.1 points per game that Alexandria was giving up to opponents through its first 14 games.

“I think we did a good job defensively,” Witt said. “That really, to start the game, was kind of the focus and allowed us to maintain the lead because offensively we were a little bit flat. I don’t know if it was so much flat. I thought we had some good looks. We just didn’t knock them down, but our defense was good, and I think we limited them to one shot for the most part on their offensive possessions.”

Alexandria dropped five straight games from December 21 through January 17, but the Cardinals knew this would be an opportunity to right the ship. They have taken care of business against a 5-8 Moorhead team on the road, an 0-15 Sauk Rapids team back at home on Monday night and now by beating the Spartans for their third straight win. In the process, Alexandria has moved back to .500 in the Central Lakes Conference at 5-5.

“We felt like this would be an opportunity in this stretch of January to really focus in and one get better, and two, work on the things that we needed to work on,” Witt said. “The things we kind of got away from in the latter part of the season here, so I’ve been happy with the kids. They’ve responded, and we’ve had good practices and I think the results have shown.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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