The Huskies boys varsity basketball team traveled to Columbia Heights on Monday night to take on the #3 ranked and 14-1 Hylanders in a section and conference match-up. The Huskies were finally starting to get healthy and have a full roster for the first time since the Christmas holiday tournament in South St. Paul.
The boys knew going in they would need to control Heights’ transition offense and limit the own turnovers against their opponent’s zone presses, and worked during the week on controlling tempo. Things were working well through the halfway point of the first half as the score was within two points at the 9 minute mark. Heights would take advantage of St. Anthony turnovers and defensive lapses though to end the half with momentum and a 36-27 lead going into the break.
At halftime, the team discussed where the defense was suspect and reiterated the importance of limiting turnovers. Defensive adjustments were made and the result was a change in momentum right from the start of the second half. The host team struggled in their half court sets and while the Huskies had the occasional turnover, they were spread out so that Heights could not build a head of steam to make a run. This resulted in the Huskies clawing back to take the lead with four minutes left in the half. When Heights turned up the pressure even further, the Huskies responded by protecting the ball and made enough free throws to hold on to a 61-57 upset win.
Aaron Smith led the scoring for the Huskies with 22 points, while Tait Nelson added 13, including two huge free throws to make a two point game into a four point win near the end of regulation. Mickey Jah added 8 points with 8 assists, while Drew Nelson and Sullivan Jahnke each scored 6. Derek Hergenrader and Abe Jaeger Mountain both contributed 3.
The boys are back in action on Friday as they travel to Concordia Academy for a rematch with the Beacons who beat the Huskies 68-62 earlier in the year.