The St. Cloud Apollo boys basketball team edged Alexandria in the Section 8AAA championship game a year ago, but this is a much different season for the Eagles.
Apollo (1-4) had a senior-laden group last winter. The Cardinals (4-0) returned a solid nucleus from that 20-win team, and that experience helped them roll over the Eagles in a 92-57 final on Monday night in St. Cloud.
“We were able to put together some excellent runs against Apollo,” Alexandria head coach Forrest Witt said. “Our defense led to several transition buckets. We were good on the offensive glass, which resulted in points, and we had a lot of guys step up and make plays when the opportunity was presented.”
"He has been a tremendous leader for our team and program as a whole. The combination of his skill set, leadership, and basketball IQ set him apart from most players."
- Alexandria head coach Forrest Witt on senior guard Colton Roderick
It was the highest point total of the season so far for Alexandria. The Cardinals are averaging a Central Lakes Conference best 72 points per game. That’s also best among Section 8AAA teams, with Sartell-St. Stephen, a team Alexandria beat by 21 on Jan. 22, second in scoring at 64.5 a night.
Balance was a big part of that offense on Monday as four guys finished in double figures. Colton Roderick led the way with 28 points. Erik Hedstrom had 17, while guards Kristen Hoskins and Carter Steffensmeier each had 11. Myles Sansted added nine points.
Roderick was already posing problems for opponents last year when he averaged 19 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3.2 steals a night. That came on 54% shooting overall, including 41% from three.
The senior guard is on pace for another big season, averaging 21.5 points through the first four games after scoring a combined 53 in his last two against Sartell and Apollo. Roderick was efficient against the Eagles, going 10-of-12 from two-point range, 1-of-3 from three and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. He added six steals defensively, as well.
“Colton is playing very well right now,” Witt said. “He is a complete player on both ends of the floor, and he is very consistent from day to day. He has been a tremendous leader for our team and program as a whole. The combination of his skill set, leadership, and basketball IQ set him apart from most players.”
The Cardinals will try to build on their four-game winning streak when they host their second home game on Thursday night. Sauk Rapids-Rice, a CLC and Section 8AAA opponent, comes to Alexandria with a 2-1 record for a 7:15 start time.
ALEXANDRIA 92, ST. CLOUD APOLLO 57
ALEXANDRIA - Colton Roderick - 28 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steal; Elijah Vanderveer - 3 points, 1 rebound; Myles Sansted - 9 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal; Kristen Hoskins - 11 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal; Erik Hedstrom - 17 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals; Kobe Jenson - 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal; Wyatt Odland - 6 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal; Carter Steffensmeier - 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals; Brady McCoy - 2 points, 2 rebounds