MINNEOTA - Though both teams have struggled this winter, Minneota and Central Minnesota Christian still have plenty of fight in them.
And thanks to a double-double night for David Noyes and a 14-point second half for Grant Hennen, the Vikings secured a 68-52 Camden Conference road win Friday in Minneota.
"We didn't look so bad in the win, even though we've been struggling," said Vikings head coach Val Whipple. "I'm very happy with the win."
Photo by Joe Brown
Minneota’s David Noyes (23) goes up for a layup as Central Minnesota Christian’s Tyler Daugherty, left, and Nate Gerdes defend during Friday’s Camden Conference game at Minneota
Early on, it was the Bluejays that were flying out to an early lead, starting on a 10-4 run. Nate Gerdes got hot early with a pair of three-pointers for CMCS. But with Hennen and Noyes working the lane, and Lee Bot and Austin Buysse driving to the basket, Minneota battled with CMCS all throughout the first half for five lead changes and three ties.
After Bot hit a layup to put the Vikings up 34-31, the Bluejays' Tyler Daugherty drove for a layup at the buzzer, cutting Minneota's lead to one at halftime.
Needing to cement their first victory since Jan. 10, the Vikings slowed things down in the second half and took advantage of their size advantage in the paint.
Aaron Wubben 3 2-2 8, Dillon Erickson 1 0-0 3, Nate Gerdes 6 0-0 15, Tyler Daugherty 5 1-2 12, Zach Zwart 1 0-0 3, Jared Duininck 0 4-6 4, Nick Daugherty 1 3-3 5, Jacob Zondervan 1 0-0 2. Totals 18 10-13 52. Three-Pointers 6 (Gerdes 3).
Lee Bot 4 1-4 9, Jacob Bottelberghe 4 0-0 10, Austin Buysse 3 5-6 13, David Noyes 2 2-5 6, Grant Hennen 7 6-8 20, Collin Kor 4 0-0 8, Aaron Buysse 1 0-0 2. Totals 25 14-23 68. Three-Pointers 4 (Bottelberghe 2, Au. Buysse 2) Rebounds 27 (Noyes 10) Assists 20 (Noyes 8) Steals 4 Blocks 4 (Noyes 3) Turnovers 14.
Halftime Score: Minneota 34, CMCS 33.
"We had a number of offensive options in the second half," Whipple said. "We didn't rush. We'd take it out and reset again and that's what you need to do when you're not a top team."
For the 6-foot-4 Hennen, that meant more opportunities in the paint, using an array of post moves and layups against a small Bluejays lineup.
"It's more fun for me," Hennen said of his post performance Friday. "If I can't get it inside, I just try and pass it out. And we got guys like Austin Buysse, who can shoot pretty well, so I try and get it back out to them."
Said Whipple, "Grant didn't have a good first half, but second half, he rebounded a little better and sealed off the baseline."
Tied at 44, Minneota took the lead for good when Noyes sank a layup, sparking a 11-3 run.
Defensively, while CMCS was able to hit six three-pointers, the Vikings limited Daugherty in the post, holding him to one point in the second half.
"(Daugherty) sort of backed away offensively against the zone," Whipple said. "I was real leery when we went to zone in the second half that he would put up shots. And he didn't take many shots at all."
With the Bluejays trying to stop Minneota's post, Lee Bot was able to drive to the hoop with more ease in the second half. Bot finished with nine points.
"Lee's a good ball-handler," Hennen said.
Whipple added, "Lee played probably his best game of the year."
Up 55-49, the Vikings closed the game on a 14-3 run, improving their record to 2-5 in the Camden, 3-11 overall. Minneota stays at home for its next game, hosting ECHO Charter on Tuesday.
Losers of six straight, CMCS drops to 2-7 in the Camden, 3-9 overall.