M-C boys score more, still suffer three losses

HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS LEADER Jaymeson Tollefsrud of the Cougars looks for room to maneuver vs. Randolph.
Chad Smith

The Mabel-Canton boys basketball team played a couple of its better offensive games of the season but couldn’t translate those into wins, dropping three-straight last week. They lost at home to 10-win LeRoy-Ostrander 67-56 in a non-conference game on Tuesday, Feb. 4. They lost another home non-league matchup on Thursday, Feb. 6, to 14-win Decorah (Iowa) 102-67. They ended the week with their third-straight home court loss on Friday, Feb. 7, falling to 15-win Randolph 76-33.

The Cougars slipped to 3-20 (1-14 SEC East) with an 85-44 road loss at Lyle/Pacelli on Monday of this week, shortly before this edition went to press. Complete coverage will follow next week.

Lost to L-O 67-56

A quirk of the schedule meant the Cougars had to face LeRoy-Ostrander for the second time in just five days (weather postponement). The Cougars had lost at L-O in their conference game on Jan. 30, 67-48. While they did improve offensively the second time around in a non-conference contest, they still gave up 67 points to the Cardinals (10-13, 6-8 SEC).

M-C was up by a point (30-29) at halftime but couldn’t hold the lead and were outscored by 12 points (38-26) in the second half as they dropped the regular-season series.

M-C had one of its best offensive games of the season, hitting 23 of 57 shots (40%), but the Cardinals were a little better as they made 25 of 52 (48%) attempts from the field.

The Cougars outscored the Cardinals from long range, draining 6 of 20 treys (18 points, solid 30%) to LeRoy-Ostrander's 2 of 12 (6 points, 17%).

Two-point shots and free throws were the difference in the game. The Cardinals hit 23 of 40 2-pointers (46 points, 58%) while the Cougars made 17 of 37 (46%, 34 points). LeRoy-Ostrander sank 15 of 21 free throws (71%) to 4 of 9 for the Cougars.

A season-high four Cougars made double figures, led by eighth-grader Cayden Tollefsrud, who finished with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds while tying for the team lead with 4 assists. Gavin Johnson, Ethan Underbakke and Reid Crawford each scored 10 points for Mabel-Canton.

Senior Riley Olson of L-O led all scorers with 29 points on 12 of 21 shooting while grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Cougars were very unselfish with the basketball, finishing with a season-best 18 assists.

The Cougars were outrebounded by just 5 boards (37-32). Alex Arneson grabbed 6 boards and Parker Ingvalson added 5.

M-C committed one more theft defensively (12-11) than LeRoy-Ostrander while both teams turned the ball over 14 times each. Underbakke had 4 of the team’s 6 blocked shots.

Lost to Decorah 102-67

The Cougars played another solid offensive game but couldn’t match the overwhelming offensive production of Iowa Class AAA Decorah (14-4). The Cougars trailed the Vikings by 9 points (47-38) at the half but couldn’t keep up in the second half when they were outscored 55-29 as the offense went silent.

Still, in spite of the slower second half, the Cougars shot well overall, hitting 24 of 52 (46%) of their shots.

The team had a great night shooting outside the arc, draining 12 of 24 (50%) 3-point shots (Cayden Tollefsrud 6 of 8), putting up 36 long-range points. They scored more points from long distance as they made 12 2-point shots (24 points).

Tollefsrud continued a solid week, dropping in a team-high 25 points and dishing out a Cougar-high 6 assists while leading the team with 5 rebounds and getting 1 steal.

Reid Crawford also broke double figures with 11 points (4 of 6 shooting).

The only place the team didn’t shoot exceptionally well was the free-throw line, where they made 7 of 13 (54%) shots. They did share the ball well for a second-straight game, dishing out a total of 16 assists (Underbakke 4).

The Cougars pulled down a total of 24 rebounds in the game (Wilder 4). The defense had 4 steals and blocked 6 shots (Ingvalson 3).

Lost to Randolph 76-33

The offense went quiet as Randolph (15-6, 11-2, first in SEC West) came to town. The Rockets jumped out to a lead in the first half, and the Cougars couldn’t keep pace as they trailed 41-17 at halftime. The Rockets outscored M-C 35-16 in the second half while on the way to the Southeast Conference victory in their only matchup of the regular season with the Cougars.

The Cougars couldn’t keep up the offensive pace they set early in the week, managing just 31 shots while draining 11 field goals (35%).

There weren’t a lot of points to be had close to the basket, where M-C made just 5 2-point field goals. But they shot well from the outside, making 6 of 15 (40%) from beyond the 3-point arc.

Ingvalson finished the week with the scoring lead against Randolph, getting 13 points (5 of 8 shooting). Tollefsrud was the next-highest scorer with 6 points. There wasn’t much chance to add to their score at the free-throw line, where Mabel-Canton hit 5 of 9 shots.

The Cougars grabbed a total of 23 rebounds and dished out 7 assists. Turnovers were likely a big part of the Cougar struggles as they finished with 27 miscues.

The M-C defense came up with 8 steals and 4 blocks.


After Monday's road loss at L/P, the Cougars hit the road tonight (Thursday, Feb. 13) for a tough game at highly-regarded Hayfield.

Next week starts on Monday, Feb. 17, with a home game against Class AA Lewiston-Altura before the regular season finishes on Friday, Feb. 21, at home with the non-conference rematch against Grand Meadow.