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Kieper leads Tigers to win

February 19, 2011
By Jim Bastian — Journal Sports Writer

NEW ULM - Tied 32-32 at halftime with New Ulm Cathedral, Springfield boy's basketball coach Lance Larson made two adjustments going into the second half.

"We wanted to turn up our defense a little more," he said. "And our goal was to trap [Cathedral guard] Kevin Larson and make him give the ball up and make someone else make the decisions with the ball."

Added together, both those changes led to a 53 point second half for the Tigers as they ran by the Greyhounds 85-70 Friday night in a Tomahawk Conference game.

Jesse Kieper led Springfield (13-1, 17-2) with a game-high 26 points. Cody Milbrath added 20 and Tyler Marz came off of the bench to score 12 points.

Kevin Larson paced the Greyhounds (8-7, 12-9) with 21 points. Ted Mohr netted 19 and Brian Nosbush added 18.

"They had some easy baskets in transition, and we did not get back [on defense]," said Cathedral coach Paul Hazuka about that second half.

The Tigers outscored Cathedral 14-5 in the first four minutes of the second half to break that 32-32 tie.

"They also made their inside game work using the high-low,"?Hazuka said. "They were very efficient tonight and really outworked us in the second half."

The Tigers took complete control of the game in those first four minutes of the second half that started with Alex Fink scoring on a Greyhound turnover. Cathedral countered and take a 37-36 lead on a Larson basket.

But the Tigers ran off 10 straight points and forced Cathedral to call two timeouts that were sandwiched around three Cathedral turnovers that led to four Springfield points.

"It was not about possessions and rebounds in the second half," Hazuka said. "It was about getting back on defense. That was where we fell short."

Springfield also used its inside game of 6-foot-8-inch Tyler Marz and 6-5 Cody Milbrath to its advantage.

"I think that we consciously made an effort to go inside especially when Tyler was in the game," Larson said. "We wanted to get him acclimated - that was only his second ballgame of the year so it is tough to get him back in the flow of it. But when he is in the game it makes everybody else more open because they really have to defend him."

The Greyhounds pulled to within 59-52 with eight minutes left in the game on two free throws from Brian Nosbush and a bucket from Eric Hauser.

Nosbush's hoop with 7:40 left saw the Greyhounds down 62-54.

But the Tigers scored the next eight points to assume a 69-54 lead with five minutes left on two free throws from Fink.

Two 3s from Ted Mohr kept Cathedral close at 73-62. Springfield kept the pedal to the metal and kept momentum with a Kieper drive to the basket for an 81-65 lead less than two minutes left in the game.

Larson said that he was happy with his team's 53 point second half.

"We have had some big second halfs here lately," he said. "I think that maybe we came out a little bit flat - I think that maybe the guys were anticipating [tonight's] game at home against Cedar Mountain for the Tomahawk Conference championship. We are happy with the win against Cathedral."

Cathedral is home Tuesday against Sleepy Eye.



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