St. Francis improved to 3-0 and raised its scoring average 68.7 points after Saturday afternoon’s, 73-60, non-conference contest against Anoka.
The Saints will be able to score this season and has had contributions by nearly everyone on the roster so far, illustrated by 10 different players scoring against Anoka, as they did against Becker and Cambridge-Isanti.
Anoka senior guard Malcom Seals led the way with 23 points while St. Francis’ Blake Monroe had 21 points and Jake Johnson added 19 points.
“We have some good balance,” St. Francis coach Ryan Hauge said about the offense. “In the past we’ve had to rely on one or two guys to do the majority of the scoring but we just have more guys this year who can score.”
The difference this season is that a rare night-off is less likely if they can spread the shots across the lineup.
Conversely, the Saints defense helped generate scoring chances. “It’s nice to score the ball but the real key for us has been our team defense,” Hauge said.
St. Francis has a goal to limit the opposition to an optimistic 60 points or less each game.
Anoka made two late three-pointers to reach that 60-point mark.
Saints Jake Johnson is one of those players stepping into the spotlight and had 19 points against the Tornadoes, despite being limited in minutes because of foul trouble.
Johnson is the versatile player who will get it done on both ends of the floor.
Another is sophomore center Blake Moreno who had 21 points and nine rebounds. “He has tremendous strength, great feet and is nifty around the rim,” Hauge said, pointing out the team-aspect to get him the ball. “Our guards do a nice job getting him the ball in a variety of ways and their focus on Jake opened things up for Blake on the interior.”
Anoka scored a game-high 60 points but dropped it second game in what’s been a busy three-game, opening week of the season, including a 61-54 loss to No. 5-ranked (Class AAAA) Osseo Dec 6.
St. Francis opened the season with equally impressive, more so on the defensive side of the ball with road wins against Cambridge-Isanti (72-44, Dec. 1) and Becker (61-28, Dec. 6).
Johnson was a key weapon in an otherwise team win in both games. Against the Bluejackets he hit two, three-pointers followed by an inside basket, an easier lay-in after blocking a shot and then added a dunk.
“Jake’s a player not a position and he showcased that for the first time in a high-school game,” Hauge said.
Early hole too deep for Blaine
Blaine found itself on the wrong side of a 7-0 start as Henry Sibley took the early lead and doubled it to 14 points by the end of the first half of Saturday’s non-conference game at Blaine.
Sibley held on for a 59-55 win after Blaien cut the lead to three points with six seconds left but the Warriors made its free throws to pull out the four-point win.
Sibley senior guard Adam Huessner led the way with 25 points while Jason Travis led Blaine with 13 points while Matt Barthels and Jerome Egbugor each scored 10 points.
Sibley went 21-32 from the free throw line while Blaine struggled to get to the line. Kunle Ayinde went 6-for-6 from the line for Blaine.