Cathedral’s defense frustrates Tigers

SPRINGFIELD — For the second time this season, Springfield was unable to push the tempo against Tomahawk Conference rival New Ulm Cathedral, which is what the Tigers have loved to do for years.

And for the second time this year, New Ulm Cathedral’s height and defense was a factor as it came away with a 71-64 boys’ basketball win over the Tigers on Saturday night.

It was a rare victory for the any Tomahawk Conference team at Springfield as the Greyhounds were led by senior Jon Zinniel’s 31 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks.

The Greyhound victory ended Springfield’s 13-game winning streak. The last Springfield loss came at Cathedral on December 10.

“They were really prepared for tonight defensively,” Cathedral coach Alan Woitas said of his team. “Our goal is to contest every shot and I think the biggest thing is, according to our total, Springfield only four offensive rebounds. So, eliminating a good offensive team to one shot, that’s huge.”

Springfield was led by Decker Scheffler’s 26 points and seven rebounds. Mitchell Buerkle finished with 15 points and four assists and Ivan Hovland had 9 points and four rebounds.

For the Tigers, they just were never able to get into their game of running up and down the floor.

“That’s what our game consists of, we like to run and go and when we can’t get those rebounds to help us go right away, it’s tough,” Buerkle said.

Just like last game when Zinniel scored 26 points, he was dominant again this time around.

“Jon’s got the ability to take over a basketball game, he can score at all three levels and I think his teammates did a nice job of recognizing that,” Woitas said. “They set some good screens for him and they got him the ball in his spots and he was able to capitalize. It was just a team effort on the offensive end.”

The teams went back and forth in the first half, with Zinniel hitting a 3 to give the Greyhounds a 26-21 lead. The Tigers stormed back and went on a 10-2 run to go up 31-28 and they took a 33-31 advantage into halftime.

Cathedral’s defense tightened up in the second half and they went on a 9-2 run to take a 50-41 lead. The Tigers got to within 2 points late, but free throws and good defense sealed it for Cathedral.

Chris Knowles finished with 14 points and Sam Knowles scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds. James Gillis had 9 points and three assists.