NEW ULM - The boys basketball contest between the New Ulm Cathedral Greyhounds and Wabasso Rabbits Friday night was ugly, but only in the best possible way.
The referees called few fouls, let the guys play, and the result was a 53-40 Wabasso victory that was more of a technical knockout than a quick 10 count.
There wasn't much offensive firepower, as can be seen by the final score, but every player on the court put everything into it that they could.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Wabasso’s Tanner Bock (24) makes a lay-up as Peter Herzog (22) and Collin Helget of New Ulm Cathedral look on during the first half of the Rabbits’ win Friday at CHS in New Ulm.
"We kind of have to win ugly sometimes," Rabbits coach Josh Hadley said. "We're not exactly the tallest team, but we have a couple of guys that know where to stand to get the rebounds and aren't afraid to fight for them. For the way we work, we needed this win tonight to keep all the guys motivated. We've lost two heartbreakers and then this one tonight."
While the Greyhounds also played hard and clamped down on defense, their offense could only manage 17 points in the first half and got few second shots due to a lack of rebounding.
"We had a good effort tonight," Cathedral coach Paul Hazuka said. "But we definitely need to shoot better and get more boards. I saw some things defensively we need to work on. We just have to keep pushing it."
There was plenty of (legal) pushing and shoving going on in the first nine minutes of the game, as the teams tried to establish themselves on defense. Consecutive 3-pointers from Wabasso's Neil Eichten opened a 12-8 lead for the Rabbits, with the Greyhounds' Peter Herzog cutting that lead later to 17-16 after a midrange jumper.
Cathedral scored a single point the rest of the half, while Eichten and Tanner Bock scored the remaining points, giving Wabasso a 29-17 lead at the break.
"We go how Eichten goes," Hadley said. "Tonight was a coming out party for Bock. This was the best he's played so far."
The second half story is pretty simple. It took the Greyhounds six minutes and twenty seconds to score their first field goal, getting a single point from a free throw. The Rabbits scored nine points and took a 38-20 lead.
A couple of Wabasso turnovers resulted in four points coming from Cathedral's Jeff Osborne, with Michael Larson adding consecutive 3-pointers with less than five minutes left in the game.
But by that time, the Rabbits were still up 46-34, and put the game away by scoring seven of the next nine points to up their record to 1-2, while the Greyhounds drop to 0-2.
Eichten led all scorers with 19 points, with Bock adding 12. Cathedral was led by Osborne's 14 points.
Cathedral hosts Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, while Wabasso hosts Sleepy Eye at 7:30 p.m. Monday.