Article by Ian Grande
Stanley – The District 16 regular season champion would be determined by tonight’s match-up between the Stanley Blue Jays and the Kenmare Honkers.
The game featured the top two players in Region 8, Mr. Basketball hopeful Wyatt Hanson and Kenmare’s multi-sport standout Jacob Rodin. In the end, both players lived up to the hype, as did the game itself.
The Blue Jays jumped out to 17-3 lead and it looked like the rout was on, but the Honkers were able to reel the Blue Jays back in and take a 3 point lead of their own in the second quarter.
The primary reason the Honkers were able to mount their impressive comeback was the lights out shooting of Trey Balvitsch, the senior was red-hot from downtown, hitting four 3-pointers in the first half.
The Blue Jays circled the wagons in the third quarter and got some hot shooting of their own from senior Mike Gunderson. The shifty guard scored 8 of his 11 points in the third quarter, helping Blue Jays push their lead to 15 points by the end of the third quarter.
Gunderson and fellow senior Quadye Lee played excellent for the Blue Jays tonight, taking advantage of some extended minutes. “I was very pleased with our effort as a team, said Stanley coach Kory Anderson. “Mickey and Quayde Lee played well all night. Their teammates believed in them and were genuinely excited for them.”
The Honkers weren’t done fighting and the Honkers best player made sure he left his mark on the game before it was over. The Blue Jays had done a nice job of holding Rodin in check for the first 3 quarters, but the senior standout poured in 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to make the game interesting down the stretch.
Wyatt Hanson left his mark as well, narrowly missing a triple-double (19 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists).
Ultimately, the Blue Jays would hold on by hitting some clutch free-throws down the stretch, allowing them to win 60-53.
The win was a refreshing change for the Blue Jays after a pair of tough losses last week, “We had a few slices of humble pie last week and knew we needed to do a better job as a coaching staff in practice and games,” said Anderson. “Tonight to be down two players and to have two seniors step up like they did on senior night was just what we needed as a team and coaching staff. Effort like that gets you emotional and keeps a coach coming back for more.”
Stanley’s victory was even more impressive considering the Blue Jays were without the services of two of their normal starters, flashy wing Seth Hetzel and Roderick McIntosh.
The Blue Jays move to 16-2 on the season, they will travel to Our Redeemers on Friday.
Stanley 23 10 19 8 (60)
Kenmare 11 19 7 16 (53)
Stanley: W. Hanson 19, Patten 15, Gunderson 11, K. Hanson 8, R. Hanson 5, Lee 2
Kenmare: Rodin 19, Balvitsch 18, Holter 6, Houck 3, Chrest 3, Stroklund 2, Meidinger 2
*Ian Grande is the Editor of the Stanley Gazette. If you have any comments or concerns please email StanleyGazette@gmail.com
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Categories: Local Sports