Sleepy Eye boys defeat GFW 76-56

SLEEPY EYE — Sleepy Eye’s Keegan Heiderscheidt had 13 points in the first half as the Indians defeated Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop 76-56 in a Tomahawk Conference battle Friday night.

The Indians (6-6) started out strong from the 1-2-2 defense to gain an early lead against the Thunderbirds (3-8). Sleepy Eye’s Ben Laffen, had his hand on the ball defensively early in the first half. Laffen had one steal in the first three minutes while getting a defensive touch three times as the Thunderbirds regain possession.

“Just read the eyes, a lot of players like to go with the no look pass nowadays, I just jumped the passes and met the ball at the right time,” Laffen said on his defensive effort.

At the 11:50 mark, Nathan Walter had a steal at mid court and hit Carter Brinkman down low for the basket.

With just over 10 minutes left in the first half, the Thunderbirds took the lead away from the Indians at 16-13.

“Our first half was really slow, our game plan was to pound the ball inside and to get the ball and run,” Laffen said. “Heiderscheidt came in the game and hit some key shots for us to get the momentum in the first half.”

GFW’s Martin Ortiz hit two quick 3-pointers before he started to drive the lane and produce points from down low.

“[The Indians] kept spreading out so I figured I could drive in and kick out, but they never closed so I took the lane and went to the hoop,” Ortiz said.

The game became a back-and-forth battle as both teams struggled offensively.

The Indians began to pull away on shooting from Heiderscheidt hitting some 3s.

Sleepy Eye led 35-33 at halftime.

In the second half it was all Sleepy Eye, putting up 41 points and keeping GFW to 23. GFW led 38-35 with lots of time left to play before Sleepy Eye picked it up with key rebounds on both sides of the court.

“In the second half coach told us we need to rebound and do a better job of getting the ball down low, just be patient on offense and box out,” Laffen said.

Brinkman had five rebounds in the second half and Paco Eliserio had four rebounds coming off the bench.

Haala later hit some 3-pointers to give the Indians a 58-46 lead.

GFW’s Ortiz led with 17 points and four rebounds, Huiras had 15 points and four rebounds and Ryan Albrecht grabbed eight rebounds.

Haala led the Indians with 24 points, Walter scored 12 points and Laffen ended with 10.

The Thunderbirds will host Minnesota Valley Lutheran at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.

Sleepy Eye will travel to Springfield at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday for Tomahawk Conference action.