Sports Coverage

#5 St. Cloud Cathedral Goes to Battle with #3 Delano in a Battle of 1A Brutes

Although they’re 10-1-1 since December 10th and ranked in the Top 5 for the first time this season, the #5 St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders still understand that they’ll be faced with a tough test coming into Delano against the #3 Tigers.

“I expect that it’ll be a great game with lots of back and forth action. They are a good team and will probably come out flying, but I think we can handle them.” said Crusaders junior defenseman Kevin Hayward.

The Crusaders defense will certainly face a tough test against a Delano squad that boasts two of the highest scorers in the state. Senior forwards Ben Meyers and Brian Halonen are tied for third in the state with 28 goals each, and both are in the top three for points. Meyers is the state’s top points leader with 65, and also paces the state in assists with 37. Both players have helped Delano boast an offense that averages 6.53 goals per game, a mind-boggling 48.8% power play, and outscores their opponents by 28 goals in the first period.

As Hayward said in an interview with our own Mitchell Hess, “Our opponent having a very good first line puts the pressure on our second line to produce the points our first line can’t.”

On offense, Cathedral will face arguably their most imposing opponent of the season: Delano’s 6’7 junior blue liner, Tanner Glasrud, who leads the Tigers with 51 blocked shots on the year. It will likely be crucial for the Crusaders’ Jake Van Halbeck (23 G/22 A) and Michael Spethmann (19 G/25 A) to use their speed to avoid the path of Glasrud.

In the crease, both teams will look for steady games from their netminders. Delano has primarily utilized two goalies this year: junior Jackson Hjelle and senior Erik Peterson. Hjelle is 8-1-1 on the year with a .887 save percentage; whereas Peterson is 6-1 with .886 save percentage. For Cathedral, senior Jake Levinski is 12-2-2 with a .898 stop percentage. The winner of this 1A bout will likely be the team with the most consistent goaltending.

Here’s the link to the game, with Thomas Breach on Play-by-Play and Mitchell Hess on Color Commentary:

Cathedral vs. Delano

A Look at the Stats:

St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders: 14-2-2

5.94 GPG

2.28 GAA

27.8 PP

85.5 PK

Delano Tigers: 14-2-1

6.53 GPG

2.88 GAA

48.8 PP

75.0 PK

Interview with Kevin Hayward by Mitchell Hess. All statistics and rankings courtesy of Minnesota Hockey Hub, by the © 2013 Star Tribune Image of Alesis MultiMix taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach.

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St. Cloud Cathedral Holds Off Late Push by Becker in GRC Affair

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:

CHS 69

Points: M. Schaefer 19

Rebounds: M. Schaefer 12

Assists: Baustian-Jangula 7

Steals: Baustian-Jangula 3

Blocks: LeClaire, Plombon 1

BEC 61

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.

In Cross-Class Battle, Wheaton/Herman-Norcross’ Defense Stifles Cowgirls

Bolstered by an opportunistic defense, efficient offense, and impressive performances by two juniors, Class 1A’s 3rd-Ranked Wheaton/Herman-Norcross flew past Breckenridge by a final of 63-34.

The Warriors of WHN got off to a fast start on Monday evening, at one point leading 21-4 over the Cowgirls. Their blazing speed turned Breckenridge’s pressure defense into a strength for the Warriors, as they caught the Cowgirls out of position time after time, leading to highly efficient transition buckets. The Warriors’ perimeter shooting helped space the floor for junior guard Emma Schmidt in the first half, as they shot 57% from deep going into the break. Schmidt finished with a game-high 27 points on 11-18 shooting. Breckenridge ended the first on a high note, however, as junior guard Sophie Aigner buried a three at the buzzer.

Coming out of the locker room leading 38-19, the Warriors kept the foot on the gas by turning to the low post and their pressure defense to rack up points. They had 12 steals in the second half, and junior center Briona Edwards went to work on the block against the Cowgirls’ post defense, finishing with 12 points on 6-7 shooting. Sophomore Ashtyn Kaehler had a strong second for Breckenridge, finishing with 5 points. Junior guard Anna Rinke had a productive game for the Warriors, finishing with 7 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals.

Overall, the Warriors had 19 steals in the game to go with an exceptional 47% shooting from the floor. The Warriors are now 15-0 on the season, while the Cowgirls fell to 9-6.

By The Numbers:

WHN 63

Points: Schmidt 27

Rebounds: Schmidt, Rinke 7

Assists: Rinke, Gail, Cronen 4

Steals: Schmidt, Rinke 4

Blocks: Braaten 2

BKN 34

Points: S. Aigner 7

Statistics should not be considered official. Taken courtesy of Thomas Breach. Rankings courtesy of Minnesota Basketball News, a statewide basketball publication. Photo of Stanton Headset taken by Thomas Breach, © Thomas Breach.