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Boys Basketball: Cardinals hold off Rocori for 55-49 victory

The Alexandria boys basketball team held off a second-half comeback push by Rocori on Tuesday to grab a 55-49 Central Lakes Conference victory at AAHS.

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Ben Corson drives to the basket over the defense of Rocori's Alec Anderson in the first half of Tuesday's game. Corson scored nine points in the 55-49 Cardinals victory. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

The Alexandria boys basketball team held off a second-half comeback push by Rocori on Tuesday to grab a 55-49 Central Lakes Conference victory at AAHS.

The Cardinals jumped out to a seven point lead 12 minutes into the first half and continued the momentum for a 34-29 advantage at halftime.

Alexandria upped that lead to 45-30 with seven minutes left in the second half, but that is when Rocori started to turn the game around. Head coach Forrest Witt said the Cardinals offense appeared to slow down once it grabbed the big lead.

“At probably the 11 minute mark of the second half we just went stagnant offensively,” Witt said. “I don’t know if the kids quit attacking as much or were playing a little hesitant with our lead. Then they (Rocori) started to figure some things out with our 1-2-2 (defense).”

Rocori fought back to within four points with less than a minute remaining, but Alexandria sunk enough free throws down the stretch to run the clock out.

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Although the Cardinals saw their large second half lead start to dwindle, senior Joe Gorghuber said his confidence in pulling out the win never faltered.

“I think we had a 15 point lead and they kind of went on a bigger run on us,” Gorghuber said. “I don’t think we were nervous, we’ve been able to handle those situations pretty well throughout the season.”

Jaran Roste came off the bench to lead the Cardinals in scoring with 15 points. Tyler Owen added 12 points for Alexandria and Gorghuber also finished with double digit scoring at 10 points.

Jon Olson led Rocori’s offense with 18 points.

The Cardinals were prepared for a battle with Rocori heading into Tuesday’s matchup. Rocori held a 2-1 record heading into Tuesday, including a 57-46 win over Brainerd last Friday.

The Cardinals now hold a 2-1 record in the Central Lakes Conference this season with wins over Rocori and Willmar. The CLC is expected to have a number of competitive teams this season, and the Cardinals know they will need to continue playing strong basketball to keep winning games.

“It’s going to be like that the whole season,” Roste said. “It’s going to be tightly contested games with everybody in the conference, there are not guaranteed wins.”

Witt was happy with the Cardinals’ effort to hold off a Rocori team he expects to be much improved from a 4-23 record last season.

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“I think Rocori is a good basketball team, and they are going to win a lot of basketball games this year,” he said.

GAME STATISTICS

ALEXANDRIA – 34 21 – 55

ROCORI – 25 24 – 49

ALEXANDRIA SCORING – Ben Corson – 9 points; Joe Gorghuber – 10 points; Tyler Owen – 12 points; John Oberg – 2 points; Jaran Roste – 15 points; Kris Setterstrom – 6 points; Grant Toivonen – 1 point

ROCORI SCORING – Derek Thompson – 2 points; Cole Field – 9 points; Connor Schoborg – 2 points; Jon Olson – 18 points; Austin Overman – 8 points; Ryan Hennen – 3 points; Alec Stein – 2 points 

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