In a classic Granite Ridge Conference matchup, the St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders withstood a strong second half by the Becker Bulldogs to win 69-61.
The Crusaders came into the matchup off of a big one-point victory over Esko and looked primed for continued success, as they relied upon a highly efficient offense in the first half to enter the break up 34-20. They shot 47% from the floor and 46% from deep, as junior forward Mitchell Plombon harassed the Bulldogs all night in the post, finishing with 17 points on 50% shooting. They had 11 assists on their 14 first half makes, getting great distribution from point guards Jackson Baustian-Jangula and Andrew Weisser. However, even with the 14 point deficit, Becker looked confident going into the half, as they played well-composed basketball. The Bulldogs only allowed Cathedral to shoot one first half free throw, and they forced the Crusaders to back off a full court press that didn’t exactly hinder Becker.
In the second half, Becker leaned on their “Big Three” of Hunter McCalla, Jack Conzemius, and Lucas Dertinger to crawl back into the game. Dertinger poured in 21 points in the game, leading all scorers. The three combined for 48 of Becker’s 61 points. Cathedral’s defense struggled to finish possessions in the second, as Becker was able to get a lion’s share of efficient, open shots. After a timeout by coach Matt Meyer, Cathedral struck back by leaning on Michael Schaefer, who lead the Crusaders with 19 points and 12 rebounds, with 11 boards coming on the defensive glass. Once the Bulldogs drew the deficit to two late in the game, the comeback effort finally hit a brick wall. Schaefer and Plombon then proceeded to take over, as both hit key free throws down the stretch and Schaefer seemingly pulled down every Becker miss to close out the game.
Overall, the Crusaders relied on a steady offense to defeat the Bulldogs, finishing with 50% shooting from the floor, and hit 8 of their 11 second half free throws. Plombon and Schaefer used their size and athleticism combination to create mismatches, as the two 6’6 forwards each had success attacking the rim off the dribble. They also picked up some excellent floor spacing from Keaton LeClaire and Jacob Stoltzenberg, as each hit two three-pointers. Stoltzenberg and Nicholas Schaefer combined for all 16 bench points with 8 each.
With the win, Cathedral is now 13-3 on the year and 4-1 in the GRC, while Becker falls to 9-8 and 5-2 in the same columns.
By The Numbers:
Points: M. Schaefer 19
Rebounds: M. Schaefer 12
Assists: Baustian-Jangula 7
Steals: Baustian-Jangula 3
Blocks: LeClaire, Plombon 1
Points: Dertinger 21
Statistics should not be considered official. Taken courtesy of Thomas Breach. Image of Cathedral North Gym taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach.