R-P boys drop a close season opener

Trojan Luke O’Hare went 7 for 15, scoring an impressive 16 points in the home opener versus Moose Lake-Willow River last week. TCR/SCOTT BESTUL

Rushford-Peterson Boys Basketball Team, front row: Easton Wilcenski, Isaiah Rasmussen, Mitchell Ledebuhr, Jonah Sievers, Landon Skalet, Trey Olson, Malachi Bunke, Hale Stensgard, and Jack Kopperud. Back row: Assistant Coach Joe Hatch, Assistant Coach Davin Thompson, Korey Burroughs, Tim Highum, Justin Ruberg, Luke O’Hare, Ben Wieser, Kobe Lind, Vincent Mason, Assistant Coach Jack Cul- hane, and Head Coach Chris Drinkall.
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A new era of Rushford-Peterson boys’ basketball started off on Saturday with a non-conference game at home against Moose Lake-Willow River (MLWR). The Trojans came up short in a tight game, dropping it by a 64-61 score. The Trojans are 0-1 under new head coach Chris Drinkall, who said the team played hard despite the loss.

“The first game is always a challenge because you’re getting some of the rust off,” Drinkall said. “It’s also the first time that some of the 9th and 10th graders are playing at the varsity level. For the first game, I was pleased the way we played but we also have some things we can clean up.

“The biggest adjustments that some of the new kids have to make moving from lower-levels to the varsity squad involves the speed of the game and playing against much taller players,” Drinkall added. “When you go from 8th grade to playing varsity ball, there are a lot more kids over six feet tall defending you. It definitely takes some time for the underclassmen to adjust to the speed of the game, as well as the height of opposing players.”

The team returned just one starter in point guard Landon Skalet, who led the team with 17 points. The senior was three for seven outside the three-point line and a perfect eight of eight at the free throw line.

Skalet got some offensive help as two more Trojans finished in double figures. Luke O-Hare scored 16 points (7 of 15 shooting, 46%) and Justin Ruberg added 10.

The Trojans shot 40 percent from the field (21 of 52), with most of their success inside the arc. R-P was 19 of 38 from two-point range (50%). Free throw shooting was solid, with the Trojans hitting 17 of 25 attempts (68%).

Kobe Lind hit the glass hard on missed shots, pulling down 10 of the team’s 32 rebounds. Eleven of those 32 rebounds were on the offensive end. Defensively, the team finished with nine steals against MLWR (2-0), led by Skalet’s three thefts.

“We’ll need to work on our rebounding going forward,” Drinkall said. “I think we gave them too many second-chance points. It’s a credit to them because they rebounded the ball well with a couple of taller kids that were hard to keep off the boards consistently.


The Trojans conference schedule started with a road game at La Crescent on Tuesday, Dec. 4. R-P will head to Luther College for a matchup with the Decorah boys’ team on Saturday Dec 8. R-P will dive right back into conference action on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at Winona Cotter.

Drinkall is looking forward to getting his team back on the court. “Especially after a loss,” he said. “You want to get back out on the floor and play right away. I’m glad we don’t have to think about it for five or six days. Going down to La Crescent will be a tough test. We’re going to have our hands full every night out in conference play.”