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Cardinals open at AAHS with a win

The Alexandria boys basketball team knew it needed to make some halftime adjustments Saturday in order to win its first ever home game against New Prague at the new Alexandria Area High School gymnasium.

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Senior forward Joe Gorghuber pump fakes after getting the ball in the post during Saturday’s game. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

The Alexandria boys basketball team knew it needed to make some halftime adjustments Saturday in order to win its first ever home game against New Prague at the new Alexandria Area High School gymnasium.

The Cardinals were down by six points at halftime, but jumped out to a 15-2 run over the first three minutes of the second half. That run helped Alexandria take control of a game it eventually won 71-57 over the Trojans.
The Cardinals started slow in the game after struggling to break full court pressure by New Prague, but in the second half they figured out how to attack the defense.
“In the second half, we had a good mindset coming in,” senior point guard Kris Setterstrom said. “Coach made some adjustments. We were able to break down that press and get some easy buckets in some fast break opportunities.”
The 15-2 run was aided by quick scoring from Ben Corson, who scored all 11 of his points in the second half. Jaran Roste came off the bench to lead the Cardinals’ offense with 22 points, and a total of five players finished in double figures. Setterstrom had 14, Joe Gorghuber scored 12 and Tyler Owen carded 10 points.
After taking about 20 shots beyond the three point line in a 69-47 loss to Moorhead last Tuesday, the Cardinals were focused on taking more high percentage shots on Saturday.
“Going into this game, we really focused on attacking the rim more,” Roste said. “We got to the free throw line a lot more this game than we did last game.”
Head coach Forrest Witt said Alexandria adjusted well to the full court pressure. He instructed the Cardinals to use ball screens in the second half to get their post players mismatches near the basket.
“We just spread the floor more and gave the kids opportunities to cut and just play, and give them dribble drive opportunities instead of running a set pattern offense,” Witt said. “They adjusted well and made plays.”
The Trojans’ offense was led by Zach Hanson, who came off the bench for 14 points. James Fuerniss also finished in double digit scoring with 11 points.
Witt said attacking the basket was something he talked to the Cardinals about heading into Saturday’s game. He was happy with the team’s effort to limit outside shots to those that were available.
“We were attacking the rim, and all of our shots were wide open coming from inside passes,” Witt said.
He was also happy with the Cardinals’ ability to get to the free throw line. Alexandria scored 23 points on 31 free throw attempts against New Prague.
Saturday’s victory improved the Cardinals to 1-1 this season.

GAME RESULTS

NEW PRAGUE – 32 25 – 57
ALEXANDRIA – 26 45 – 71
ALEXANDRIA SCORING – Jaran Roste – 22; Kris Setterstrom – 14; Joe Gorghuber – 12; Ben Corson – 11; Tyler Owen – 10; John Oberg – 2
NEW PRAGUE SCORING – Zach Hanson – 14; James Fuerniss – 11; Tyler Johnson – 8; Ben Buthe – 8; Malik Jallah – 7; Drew Schoenbauer – 5; Erik Bendzick – 4

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