Fink’s record 46 points leads Tigers by Chargers

Staff photo by Steve Muscatello Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s Jake Kettner (12) takes a shot as Nolan Hovland of Springfield defends during the first half of Saturday’s Tomahawk Conference game in Springfield.

SPRINGFIELD — One night after scoring 36 points to pass 3,000 career points in a dominant home victory over Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart, Springfield’s Isaac Fink outdid himself again on Saturday against Minnesota Valley Lutheran.

In one of the more important Tomahawk Conference boys’ basketball games left this season, Fink set a single-game school record of 46 points to help lead the Tigers (19-2, 13-1) to a 101-81 win over the Chargers (18-3, 10-2) at Springfield High School.

Fink previously set the school record earlier this year when he scored 43 points in a win against Redwood Valley on Jan. 7.

Fink also had 14 rebounds and seven assists and despite picking up his third foul just seconds into the second half, he remained aggressive on offense and let Decker Scheffler pick things on defense.

“Even offensively, I try not to change my game [in foul trouble], but I told Decker that he needed to take [Jake Kettner],” Fink said. “[Decker] confidently took him and he did an awesome job with that, too. I just tried to be smart because they were calling a good game, too, I just had to stay off them.”

Scheffler finished the night with 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists. He also did a nice job in helping defend Kettner more in the second half as Kettner ended up with 6 second-half points.

Scheffler said that he was happy with how the Tigers responded in the second half offensively and defensively against a top conference team.

“Offensively, when we play good teams, top-of-the-conference teams, we have to run the offense all the way through to get our looks that we want,” he said. “It can’t be a one catch and shoot like against those teams that are towards the bottom. But defensively, it’s the same thing. We just really need to lock in and finish possessions with rebounds, and what we did with Kettner in the second half is pretty special.”

Kettner still finished the night leading MVL with 25 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while Dunwa Omot added 17 points and five assists. Jace Marotz and Mason Cox each added 13 points and six rebounds apiece for the Chargers.

Mitchell Leonard had 12 points and seven rebounds for Springfield and Nolan Hovland added 9 points.

MVL jumped out with some early fireworks in the first minute and a half of play, getting a 3 from Kettner, a layup from Omot and a steal and two-handed slam by Kettner to lead 7-2. That was the largest lead the Chargers had, though, as the Tigers quickly knotted it up at 7-apiece after a corner 3 from Fink and a basket from Scheffler.

Both teams exchanged buckets for most of the first half until the Tigers went on a 9-2 run that was capped off on a 3 by Mason Kretsch to lead 43-37. MVL took a timeout shortly after with 5:34 left in the half.

The Tigers kept running out of the MVL timeout, taking a 52-38 lead after a no-look pass from Fink ended with a 3 by Scheffler. That was the largest lead the Tigers held in the first half as they led 54-44 at halftime.

Back-to-back layups in the second half by Kyreis Harrison had the Chargers trailing 71-67, but those points were quickly erased after Fink and Scheffler each added a basket on the other end.

The Tigers had three offensive possessions in a row in the last four minutes each end with a 3 by Fink, who finished the night hitting on 6 of 12 3-pointers.

MVL head coach Craig Morgan said that the loss came down to a lack of a consistent defense in the second half.

“When you give someone [101] points, you sure aren’t playing defense,” Morgan said. “We did not get out and off the screens that we knew Isaac was going to get, or anybody else. So it’s just consistency in the defense. We got that little run in there, but then we needed to finish it off.”

Springfield is at Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s on Tuesday, while MVL hosts Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop on Monday.