The Knights boys basketball team picked up a pair of solid wins over section and conference foes Ortonville and Hancock last week. They opened the week in Ortonville on Monday night and came away with a lopsided win, 69-38, over the Trojans. Then, on Thursday, the hosted Hancock and edged the Owls, 62-58, in a hard-fought battle.
The Knights are currently 3-1 in section play which places them in fourth place in the Section 6A standings based solely on record. Ashby (4-0) currently leads the Section 6A South standings, followed by Hancock (4-1) and Parkers Prairie (4-1). Wheaton/Herman-Norcross (2-1) is right behind the Knights. WCA is in the early lead in the Pheasant Conference standings, just ahead of Hancock and W/HN. Ortonville and CGB are bringing up the rear.
The Knights will have a chance to maintain or improve their section and conference standings this week. Their lone game on the schedule is a home contest against the W/HN Warriors on Thursday night.
Knights – 69
Trojans – 38
The Knights travelled to Ortonville and picked up a 69-38 road win on Monday night behind some balanced scoring. The WCA boys led, 36-16, at halftime.
Knights Coach Kraig Hunter said, “We had great contributions from everyone tonight. We were not only balanced in scoring, but we had good balance in rebounding and assists as everyone was distributing the ball. We also had several guys with two or three steals, so we were active as a team on the defensive end as well.”
The Knights shot 26-57 for 46 percent and hit 9-22 three-point attempts for 41 percent. The Knights also hit 73 percent of their free throws, connecting on 8-11. WCA held the Trojans to 14-48 shooting for 29 percent and only 3-20 from the three-point line. The Trojans hit 7-12 free throws. The Knights controlled the boards 41-26. Hunter added, “That is the best we’ve rebounded so far this year.”
Leaders for the Knights were Grant Beuckens with 17 points and five assists and Tate Christenson with 17 points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Ryder Staples was active in the game with 11 points, seven rebounds, three steals, two assists, and three blocked shots. Jacob Strunk added nine points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals; Brady Reeve had seven points and led the team with 10 rebounds.
“Brady does so many little things that you don’t always see in the stats. He played tough post defense once again, he set some great screens to get guys open and he draws a lot of double teams which opens up our other shooters,” said Hunter.
Xander Bontjes had five points, five rebounds, and three assists. Hunter said, “Xander gave us great minutes tonight. He finishes inside, he rebounded well tonight and had no turnovers. Solid performance.” Cole Anderson had three points, five rebounds, and two steals; Isaac Kreft and Peyton Hanson each had one rebound.
Scoring for Ortonville were Owen Longnecker with 12 points, Micah Heinrich with 11, Keegan Haaman with eight, Caleb Edwards with two points, Nathan Miska with two, Zack Anderson with two, and Orv Boots with one point.
Knights – 62
Owls – 58
The Knights faced another top 20 state ranked team on Thursday night and this time they came away with the win as they defeated the talented Hancock Owls 62-58. The Knights led, 30-23, at halftime and had a lead of 12 points early in the second half before the Owls whittled it all the way down to two points with just seconds to play. Tate Christenson hit a pair of free throws in the game’s closing seconds to seal the win for the Knights.
“This game had a playoff atmosphere,” said coach Kraig Hunter. “We are extremely proud of our grit and effort against a team with so much height, athleticism, and multiple good shooters. Give credit to both teams. Both teams played hard in a competitive, fun game.”
Grant Beuckens led the Knights with 22 points, nine rebounds, two assists, and two steals; Brady Reeve added 14 points and five rebounds; and Tate Christenson was also in double figures with 12 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
“That’s how it should be,” said Hunter. “Seniors stepping up in big games. All three of them had big moments in that game.”
Cole Anderson and Jacob Strunk added five points apiece and Ryder Staples scored four points. Xander Bontjes contributed two rebounds.
The Owls 6’7 Center Matt Thompson led Hancock with 22 points, followed by Brandon Kellenberger with 12, Preston Rohloff with 11, Kody Berget with five, Adam Shaw with five, and Luke Joos with three points.
The Owls hit 21-39 shots for 54 percent including 7-21 threes for 33 percent. They were 9-13 on free throws. The Knights hit 21-43 shots for 49 percent including 9-18 on three-point attempts for 50 percent. They made 11-18 free throws. The Knights won the rebounding battle 28-22.
“The difference was our three-point shooting and rebounding. We really emphasized rebounding against them and limited them to very few second chances. The way we blocked out and rebounded is the thing I’m the most proud of with our guys tonight,” concluded Hunter