R-P boys stop Houston, fall to LaCrescent

By: 
Chad Smith

The Rushford-Peterson boys’ basketball team split a pair of games last week, starting with a road win at Houston on Monday, Feb. 3, 56-48. The Trojans also dropped a rare Thursday night game on the road at La Crescent-Hokah, falling 70-47. R-P is now 10-11 (3-9 TRC) overall with just four games left in the regular season.

R-P vs. Houston

The short drive down Highway 14 to face Houston is even more challenging this year because the Hurricanes feature a potent offense. Houston dropped 99 points on LeRoy-Ostrander, 86 against Alden-Conger, and 85 on Fillmore Central. They’ve only been held below 50 points four times in 24 games this season. However, R-P brought in solid defense to the ballgame and left Houston with an eight-point win.

The Trojans entered their locker room at halftime up by four points (31-27). They outscored the Canes in the second half by four points (25-21) on the way to finishing off the eight-point non-conference win.

Three players finished in double figures, led by identical 19-point double-double nights from Luke O’Hare (11 rebounds) and Justin Ruberg (10 rebounds). O’Hare shot 50 percent (9 of 18) from the field while Ruberg made seven of his 17 shots. Malachi Bunke added 10 points, three rebounds, and two assists.

The Trojans made 21 of 47 shots (44%) from the field and were especially effective under the basket. They made 18 of 36 (50%) shots from two-point range while making just three of 11 outside the three-point line. The Trojans also made 11 of their 16 (68%) free-throw attempts.

The Trojans crashed the boards hard, led by solid nights from Ruberg and O’Hare, and finished with 30 rebounds, seven of which were offensive. Grady Hengel added three rebounds while tying Ruberg for the team lead with 4 assists.

The R-P defense came up with two steals and two blocked shots. However, the Trojans took excellent care of the basketball with only six turnovers all night.

R-P vs. La Crescent-Hokah

The shooting percentage dropped off for the Trojans in their second game of the week and the Lancers’ defense gets some credit for that. The long and athletic Lancers are a difficult matchup for the Trojans, who only came up with 18 points in the first half while trailing by 13 (31-18) at the break. The offense was a little sharper in the second half, but R-P was still outscored by 10 points (39-29).

O’Hare once again led the Trojans’ offense with 17 points while Ruberg scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. Ben Wieser chipped in six points.

Rebounding took a step back against the Lancers, who held the Trojans to just 16 rebounds all night (only 4 on the offensive end). O’Hare grabbed three rebounds, three players had two rebounds each, and the rest had no more than one apiece.

The Trojans made 16 of 41 shots, including 13 of 32 (40%) from two-point range. They were three of nine (33%) from outside the arc. The team was most consistent at the free-throw line, where they drained 12 of 13 shots.

Four players had one steal each to lead the Trojans on the defensive end. The Trojans took good care of the ball and finished with only eight turnovers against the Lancers’ defense.

Schedule

The Trojans started their final four games of the regular season on Tuesday, Feb. 11, with a home game against Winona Cotter/Hope Lutheran, and they’ll be going for a sweep of the Ramblers. The team heads to Caledonia on Friday, Feb. 14. The final week starts on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at Lewiston-Altura, where R-P will try to earn a season split. The final game of the regular season is at home against Fillmore Central on Friday, Feb. 21.