STATE BASKETBALL: ML/B-O loses to R-P 75-48, finishes fourth in Class A

ST. PAUL -- Trent Vix and Nick Thompson spearheaded an incredible shooting display from 3-point range Saturday morning, leading the Rushford-Peterson Trojans to an impressive 75-48 victory over the Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin Wolverines in the...

ML/B-O's Hempeck
jocelyn syrstad/daily globe MLBO's Andrew Hempeck shoots a jumper in front of R-P's Trent Vix (23) in the Class A third-place game Saturday at Concordia University in St. Paul.

ST. PAUL -- Trent Vix and Nick Thompson spearheaded an incredible shooting display from 3-point range Saturday morning, leading the Rushford-Peterson Trojans to an impressive 75-48 victory over the Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin Wolverines in the Minnesota State High School League Class A boys' basketball third-place game at Concordia University's Gangelhoff Center.

Vix ripped the nets for nine 3-pointers (six in the second half) and a game-high 27 points, while Thompson connected on five treys (four in the first half) and finished with 19 points. The Trojans were 15-for-32 overall from beyond the 3-point arc, as Seth Thompson added a long-distance shot, as well.

Jorli Hauge contributed 15 points and six rebounds for R-P, which led from start to finish and gradually built a huge 43-17 bulge by halftime. The Trojans (26-6) mixed in various zone-defensive schemes, actively scrambling and trapping to create lots of chaos for the Wolverines.

ML/B-O, which finishes an outstanding season with a record of 25-7, committed 24 total turnovers and only got off 14 shots in the first half. The Wolverines also allowed 10 offensive rebounds in the first half.

"Rushford-Peterson is a very good team and their overall quickness and aggressiveness were key factors, especially in the first half," summed up ML/B-O head coach Shawn Naas. "We competed a little better in the second half, but were unable to cut into the deficit because they were hitting so many 3-point shots. A lot of those shots were well-contested and from pretty far out, so you tip your hat to those kids and give them lots of credit."


Beau Herrig (six rebounds) and Carter Kirk (five rebounds) -- who were each selected to the all-tournament team -- led ML/B-O with 14 points apiece, as the Wolverines played the Trojans even up for most of the second half (32-31 in favor of R-P scoring-wise).

Herrig went down with an ankle injury 24 seconds into the game, but returned at the 12-minute mark and played the rest of the way to finish a stellar career at ML/B-O.

"We were tired and beat up from the previous two games, and Beau's injury certainly didn't help our cause," Naas said. "But Beau came back and played through some discomfort, finishing a terrific basketball career here with his teammates at the state tournament."

The Trojans raced out to an 11-3 lead by the 14:34 mark of the first half, forcing several Wolverines' turnovers and using a trio of offensive-rebound baskets by Hauge to take command early.

Kyle Thiessen and Kaleb Grev each hit a mid-range shot for four of ML/B-O's first five points, while Cody Penner sank a free throw, and Kirk scored on a strong drive along the right baseline to help trim the gap to 14-8 with 11:54 remaining.

But Vix buried a pair of 3-pointers from the top of the key to trigger a 21-2 burst that extended the margin to 35-10 with 3:51 on the clock. Nick Thompson (14 first-half points) and Hauge (13 first-half points) continued to spark the Trojans offensively in that stretch, as R-P scored in a variety of ways.

Herrig scored on a nice press-breaking assist from Jordan Kirk at the 3:11 mark and also stroked a long 3-pointer from out top with 31 seconds left, but Vix knocked down a smooth step-back 3-pointer with three seconds showing to make it 43-17 at the break.

Carter Kirk opened the scoring in the second half with a pair of interior baskets to make it 43-21, while Herrig and Andrew Hempeck (eight points) each dialed in a 3-pointer a little bit later to make it 51-27 with 12:00 on the clock.


But those long-distance shots came in the same span that Nick Thompson and Vix combined for three 3-pointers of their own, as the Trojans got the upper hand in a brief 3-point shooting contest -- five straight makes in 82 seconds -- and stayed in control for the remainder of the game.

Vix maintained his amazing shooting accuracy, finishing 9-for-17 from 3-point land. He fired in three straight NBA-range 3-pointers in a 55-second sequence (6:30 to 5:35) to help R-P open up its largest cushion at 73-39 with 4:13 remaining.

Both teams got everyone into the game during the closing minutes, and ML/B-O closed the season with a couple of key highlights. Nathan Dukes netted a shot from the right elbow and added a free throw (3-point play), while Tyler Friesen meshed one of two foul shots.

Hempeck dropped in a pair of shots off the window, and Jordan Kirk swished a deep 3-pointer from the left wing at the buzzer -- off an assist from Billy Soutthivong -- to send the large and loyal contingent of Wolverines' fans into a frenzy.

"That was a great shot by Jordan and a great way to end our season," Naas said. "He's a senior and a very hard-working kid, so that was a special moment for our team and our fans.

"This was an outstanding experience for our team and the communities of Mountain Lake, Butterfield and Odin -- we had great support from our fans," Naas continued. "It was a fun and memorable run through the section tournament, and just qualifying for the state tournament was an incredible accomplishment for us. We got to play three games at three different venues, and we had lots of good moments in each one to cap a terrific season with a fourth-place finish at state."

ML/B-O 17 31 -- 48

R-P 43 32 -- 75


ML/B-O (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): Dukes 0-1-1-3, Hempeck 1-2-1-8, Thiessen 0-1-0-2, Penner 0-0-1-1, K. Grev 0-1-0-2, Friesen 0-0-1-1, Herrig 2-3-2-14, C. Kirk 0-7-0-14, J. Kirk 1-0-0-3. Totals: 4-15-6-48.

R-P (3FG-2FG-FT-TP): O'Shaughnessy 0-1-0-2, S. Thompson 1-0-0-3, O'Hare 0-0-2-2, N. Thompson 5-2-0-19, T. Vix 9-0-0-27, N. Kingsley 0-1-0-2, J. Hauge 0-7-1-15, Anderson 0-0-1-1, C. Kingsley 0-1-1-3, Stensgard 0-0-1-1. Totals: 15-12-6-75.

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