Holiday Classic: Rohrer, Murray County Central beat upstart Sibley East

WORTHINGTON -- Grant Rohrer was the focus of the opposing defense during most of Tuesday night's game, often facing double and triple teams. But that didn't stop the 6-foot 5-inch senior forward.Rohrer scored a team-high 30 points to go with 15 r...

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AARON HAGEN/DAILY GLOBE Murray County Central’s Grant Rohrer (21) gets past Sibley East for a basket during the Rebels’ 75-68 win on the first day of the Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic. Rohrer finished with 30 points and 15 rebounds.

WORTHINGTON - Grant Rohrer was the focus of the opposing defense during most of Tuesday night’s game, often facing double and triple teams. But that didn’t stop the 6-foot 5-inch senior forward.
Rohrer scored a team-high 30 points to go with 15 rebounds to lead the Murray County Central boys basketball team to a 75-68 victory over Sibley East in the Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic.
“We just try to figure out what’s going to work and what’s not going to work,” Rohrer said. “If they are going to double me, we’re going to kick out for a good 3 and just kind of play our offense based on what the defense does and I thought we did a great job on doing that.”
Cole Bassett finished with 17 points for the Rebels, while Noah Lupkes had 16 points and six rebounds.
“They did some triangle-and-two against (Rohrer) and Bassett - taking away our top two scorers - and we needed a third guy to step up,” MCC head coach Tim Bobeldyk said. “Noah Lupkes was that man. He did a nice job of finding the holes and his teammates did a nice job of finding him. That’s what we need going forward, we need that balance.”
Sophomore Gavin Bates scored a career-high 33 points to lead the Wolverines (4-6).
“I think we played pretty well,” Bates said. “My teammates fed me the ball and that helped me play a pretty good game. Our offense was clicking sometimes and others it wasn’t. The game was good overall. If some shots would have fallen for us and some wouldn’t have fallen for them, we could have pulled it out. But we’ve had games like that all year.”
Using a cutting offense, the Wolverines were able to lead 9-6 early after a triple by Collin Pautsch (13 points).
However, Rohrer hit a shot and Landon Like made a free throw to tie the game and start a 10-0 run as a steal and layup by Bassett gave MCC a 16-9 lead.
“We talked about it, we were kind of getting burnt when they were driving into the lane,” Rohrer said. “We said it’s not one person on each person, we play as a team. If he cuts to the lane, we have to slide over and collapse and make them give the ball away.”
While the Rebels weren’t able to pull away from Sibley East, they didn’t trail again in the game.
“I was looking at the scorebook, it was 38-34 in the first half and 37-34 in the second,” Sibley East head coach Daniel Meier said. “It was really two pretty good teams and two pretty even teams. The one difference was (Rohrer) was a really, really good ballplayer. He got his 30 points as quietly as I’ve ever seen 30 points. He’d be a great kid to coach because he’s as fundamental as a high school basketball player can be. He doesn’t miss box outs, he doesn’t miss pivots, he doesn’t miss passes, he’s a solid player. He was the difference tonight.”
Trailing by 10 in the first half, SE answered with a 10-3 run to cut the deficit to three points. Again, MCC built a nine-point lead late in the first half, but Bates scored the final eight points of the half as the deficit was four at the break.
“We’d go on a run and they’d match it,” Bobeldyk said. “We never really got comfortable, which is good. We need games like these, this will get us better down the road playing in situations. This is nice to have this game over the break and hopefully something to get us better going forward.”
Bates started the second half with a shot inside for his 10 th consecutive point for the Wolverines.
“It was fun,” Bates said of his night. “I have to thank my teammates, they found me shots whenever I needed them or whenever coach asked me to shoot the ball. They set screens for me, passed it to me. It’s fun when you - if you want to call it - are feeling it.”
A pair of shots by Austin Weckwerth (12 points) and a layup by Scott Holmquist kept the Wolverines close, but MCC started to put some distance in the score.
Rohrer made a pair of free throws, Lupkes hit a shot and Rohrer scored in transition to increase the lead to eight. Again, SE wasn’t going away, cutting the deficit to three at the eight-minute mark.
“That’s been our thing all year, we’ve never given up in any game,” Bates said. “There have been times all year when we’ve been down 10 or 15 points and we’ve come back. In our last game, we were down by 29 and we came back within nine, it’s been our thing all year. The veterans on the team, they keep control of everything and calm everybody down. It kind of helps that way.”
Bassett answered with a 3 and Rohrer scored inside to push the lead back to eight points. Bates answered with a 3 before Rohrer made two more free throws and Bassett hit another triple to extend the lead to 10 points.
“They were a tough team,” Rohrer said. “They gave us a lot of pressure and they were physical. I thought we did a nice job of reflecting that and playing with their physicality. We played physical too and I thought we did a good job.”
Bates scored 13 of the final 16 points in the game - with a Weckwerth 3 the other basket - but the Rebels were able to make free throws down the stretch to take the seven-point win.
“I love our resilience,” Meier said. “I think a couple times we were down 10 or 11 and we always fought right back to three, four or five. We couldn’t get over the hump.”
Sibley East faces Mankato West at 5 p.m. today in Day 2 of the Daily Globe-Trojan Holiday Classic.
MCC, which improves to 11-1 this season, is at Westbrook-Walnut Grove on Tuesday.
“We’re playing well, but it’s still pretty early in the season,” Rohrer said. “We can’t say, ‘We’re 11-1, we can relax.’ We have to keep pushing. Every game is going to be a fight. Every team is going to come out and they are going to play us hard, but we just have to keep fighting and get the win.”
Sibley East 34 68
Murray County Central 38 75
SIBLEY EAST (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) - Pautsch 2-3-1-13, Pauly 0-3-0-6, Weckwerth 1-3-3-12, Holmquist 0-2-0-4, Bates 3-8-8-33. Totals 6-19-12-68.
MURRAY COUNTY CENTRAL (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) - Schrier 0-0-2-2, Like 0-0-1-1, Bassett 3-3-2-17, Schreiber 1-0-0-3, Erickson 0-1-2-4, Rohrer 0-10-10-30, K. Johnson 0-1-0-2, Lupkes 0-7-2-16. Totals 4-22-19-75.

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