Tall tasks for Burro boys against Lewiston-Altura, Chatfield

Burro center Hunter Gehrke prepares to shoot while defended by Lewiston-Altura's Hamza Habib-Soulier. LEE EPPS/NEWS LEADER
By : 
Lee Epps

The task was not only formidable but also certainly a "tall" order for the Class A Lanesboro boys, who were matched with a pair larger- enrollment Class AA opponents with tall and talented players, who shot very well while controlling the Burros at the 35th annual Warrior Club/Lewiston Auto Holiday Basketball Classic at Winona State University.

On Dec. 26, the boys fell to Lewiston-Altura 62-49 before a 75-58 setback against Chatfield on Dec. 28. The Cardinals took command early, while the Gophers used a second half surge.

Lanesboro (2-8) was shorthanded over the holidays with only nine players in uniform for both games Among the absent was second leading scorer Andrew Luck.

"Overall, I thought we competed hard against solid Class AA teams, said Burro coach Chris Hanson.

L-A 62, LHS 49

It was a physical challenge as tall and athletic Lewiston-Altura suited up 20 players with 11 seniors and seven juniors listed in the program.

It did not begin well for the Burros, who missed their first seven shots from the field, while the Cardinals hit five of their first six attempts and led 13-0 before Lanesboro got on the scoreboard with a three-pointer from Carson Schwichtenberg.

The Burros were patient but challenged while searching for quality shots against a long-armed zone defense.  LHS attempted half of their shots from beyond the three-point arc and shot reasonably well (eight for 27 treys, 30%).

Schwichtenberg with a game-high 14 points and Sawyer Johnson with 12 each hit four three-point field goals. Schwichtenberg also passed out six of the team's 10 assists.

J.T Rein and John Prestemon each added six points with Hunter Gerhke sinking five free throws. Connor Ruen contributed four points and Joe Gathje, two.

The Cardinals shot an icy one for 12 from three-point land, but still hit over half of their shots (51%) while exhibiting speed with fast breaks and repeatedly penetrating to take advantage of their superior height beneath the basket.

Eleven Cards scored with 6-foot-1 junior Gunner Reed putting in 13 points along with 10 points from 6-4 senior Ben Oevering.

Considering the disparity in height, Lanesboro did a commendable job on the backboards while being outrebounded only 28 to 26.

Connor Ruen led with seven boards with six rebounds from Prestemon and five from Schwichtenberg. Gathje and Gerhke each rebounded three times.

L-A, with only two more rebounds and two fewer turnovers (16 to 18), won by getting the ball inside for close-in shots. The Cards outshot the Burros overall, 51% to 33%.

L-A led 39-18 at halftime and by as many as 29 points in the second half. The final 13-point margin came after Lanesboro closed with a late 12-to-1 run, mostly against Cardinal reserves.

L-A improved to 4-3 before suffering a fourth defeat the next day against Prairie Du Chien, 50-41.

Chatfield 75, LHS 58

It began as a three-point shooting duel with nine of the game's first 10 baskets coming beyond the arc. The Burros led 18-12 after sinking five treys to four for the Gophers.

A steal-and-free throw three-point play by Reid Johnson put Chatfield ahead (19-18) as part of a 14-point Gopher run. Johnson, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, scored 12 of those critical 14 points and would finish with a game-high 24 points.

A halftime, buzzer-beating three-ball from Prestemon capped a Lanesboro rally that sliced an eight-point deficit down to only three at the break, 36-33.

But the Gophers scored the first 13 points of the second half and would eventually outscore the Burros by 14 points after halftime (39-25).

Trailing by 22 points, LHS buried a trio of triples to get back within 13 (62-49) but would get no closer before falling by 18.

"We got a little sloppy passing in the second half," said Hanson, "which resulted in some turnovers. We didn't get back on defense like we needed to either at times.

"But we did force a lot of turnovers." LHS lost possession 16 times, compared to 21 turnovers by the Gophers.

Chatfield just shot too well — hitting an amazing 56% from three-point range (nine for 16) and also 56% closer in while limiting Lanesboro to 33%.

The Gophers' height advantage had a lot to do with LHS accuracy; with Chatfield blocking 10 shots, about one of every six Lanesboro attempts had no chance.

That led to the Burros scoring more and shooting better from beyond the arc (13-31, 42%) that they did closer in (8-33, 24%).

Four sharpshooters contributed as LHS netted 13 treys — five each from Johnson (19 points) and Schwichtenberg (17 points). Prestemon scored twice from afar on the way to a varsity career-high 10 points for the eighth grader.

Ruen scored four points with three each from freshmen Rein and Carter Clarke along with two points from Gehrke.

Prestemon had a team-best seven rebounds; he and Schwichtenberg each had five assists as the Burros assisted on 16 of 21 field goals.

Supporting Reid Johnson's 24-point performance for Chatfield, junior Lance Bance nailed five treys for all 15 of his points.

Josef Farhrenholtz, a 6-8 senior center, scored 10 of his 14 points while Chatfield pulled away in the second half.  All scoring by 6-4 sophomore David Castleberry (eight points), 6-3 senior Jack Tuohy (seven points) and 6-1 senior Kobe Schott (three points) came after the halftime break.

That height led to the Gophers' considerable 36-to-23 rebounding bulge. Both teams, however, collected a dozen offensive boards, but the Chatfield big men benefited from more easy put-back opportunities.

Chatfield improved to 3-3 before claiming a fourth win the next day with an even more decisive 31-point pounding of Cochrane-Fountain City, 89-58.

This week and next

The Burros (2-8, 0-4 SEC) begin the new year with Friday, Jan. 4, trip west to take on winless Glenville-Emmons (0-6, 0-4 SEC). 

The boys are back home on Monday, Jan. 7, against Fillmore Central before playing at Spring Grove on Jan. 10.