Defense propelled the Cardinal boys' basketball team to a 72-63 win over Little Falls Tuesday night, handing the Flyers just their fourth loss of the season.
"The Cardinals set the tone and tempo of the game with relentless defense," said Cardinal head coach Forrest Witt. "Nearly three minutes into the game, we settled in offensively and made some plays."
Alexandria had an impressive 10-point lead at the half, even after allowing Little Falls to cut into their lead on a late run before the break.
"The first portion of the second half was a back and forth affair," said Witt. "Little Falls made a run in the middle of the half to take control and its first lead at the nine-minute mark. They would stretch the lead to 10 with around six minutes to play.
"The Cards remained poised and determined to battle back, which they did with solid offensive execution and defensive stops," he added.
The Redbirds found their way back into the lead with just two minutes remaining, and never relinquished that advantage, using sure-handed ball handling and hitting clutch free throws.
John Vogeler led the way offensively for the Cardinals as he poured in 27 points, while Logan Doyle added 14 and Austin Storm and A.J. Anderson 10 each.
"This was a quality win for our team," said the coach. "We battled all night long and we had contributions from each and every player.
"The key was our defensive strategy and execution.
"Hats off to the kids for the heart and resilience they showed tonight," he said. "This was a big win for our basketball program, and we are proud of the kids.
Alexandria, 7-8 overall and 3-6 in Central Lakes Conference play, will be at Brainerd on Monday and then at Sauk Rapids-Rice next Friday.
ALEXANDRIA 36 36 -- 72
LITTLE FALLS 26 37 -- 63
ALEXANDRIA - Jordan Smith 4, Austin Storm 10, John Vogeler 27, Tanner Rice 4, Logan Doyle 14, Ted Deitz 3, AJ Anderson 10. Field goals 21-50, Free throws 24-31, 3-pt 6-15, Rebounds 20 (Doyle 10), Assists 13 (Smith 2, Billberg 2, Vogeler 2, Doyle 2), Steals 8 (Vogeler 3), Blocked shots 5 (Doyle 4).
LITTLE FALLS - Collin Gradin 2, Grant Bell 4, Josh Wenzel 6, Matt Valentine 13, Spencer Lubbers 17, Thomas Smith 14, Troy Scott 5. Field goals 27-62, FT 7-11, 3-pt 2-13.