Maple River defeats MVL 61-50 in Pepsi Holiday Classic
By Joe Steck – Mankato Times
MANKATO, MINN. — The Maple River high school boys’ basketball team defeated Minnesota Valley Lutheran 61-50 to advance to the finals of the Pepsi Holiday Classic at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato.
The Eagles were down 25-26 at the end of the first half, and a big reason was poor free throw shooting. As a team, Maple River was 4 of 12 from the charity line in the first half.
Cole Sohre led the Eagles in scoring in the first half with 9 points, finishing the game with a team high 16. Jake Kettner led the Chargers with 13 points and finished the night with a team leading 20 points.
The Chargers started the second half with two quick scores to increase their lead 30-25. After a quick timeout, the Eagles picked up their intensity on defensive. With the Eagles down 36-39, Ethan Sindelir drained a 3-point shot to tie the game and then stole the ball on the next play which led to a Wyatt Johnson layup with a little over 8 minutes left in the game.
“Since my freshman year I have adopted the role of being a defender and I put a lot of energy on the defensive side of the ball,” said Sindelir “We played classic defense and were rebounding on almost all of the shots, it’s our bread and butter.”
The Eagles led 43-39 but a sharp shooting Kettner drained back-to-back 2 and 3-point shots to put the Chargers up 44-43.
Maple River answered the call scoring 8 straight points to take a 51-44 lead with 4:20 left in the game.
From that point, the Eagles stepped up their defense, denying passes and open looks to the basket. The Chargers turned to foul ball, but the Eagles were up to the challenge, making 10 of 11 free throws to close out the game with a 61-50 victory.
“It was a tale of two half’s. I thought we looked tired in the first half and in the second we picked things up, holding them to only 9 points in the final 7 minutes of the game,” said Maple River assistant coach Eric Ward “Ethan’s 3-point shot and steals helped excite the team and Mason (Sohre) and Jeff (Lewis) made some key free throws to help close out the game.”
Maple River, known for their tough defense, showed some brilliance during the first half with several steals. That tough defense picked up in the second half of the game with their help-side defense.
“We work hard in practice with our help-side defense. That is what we talk about all the time, being a good teammate.” Said Coach Ward
Cole Sohre (16) and Jeff Lewis (10) were the leading scorers for Maple River while Jake Kettner (20) and Nick Fischer (13) led the Chargers.
The Eagles play New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva for the Championship tonight with an 8:30 pm scheduled start in the North gym.
Scoring: Mason Sohre 8, Nick Shubert 4, Jeff Lewis 10, Cole Sohre 16, Ethan Sindelir 9, Sam Bennett 4, Chandler See 2, Wyatt Johnson 8.
- New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva defeated St. Croix Lutheran
- Fairmont defeated Le Sueur Henderson
- Saint Clair defeated Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial