Boys’ hoops recap: Dec. 14-18

Anoka
The Tornadoes hit a tough stretch of its schedule in the middle of the month as they followed a 52-35 win against Coon Rapids Dec. 11 with consecutive losses to some of the top programs around.

Anoka's JP Grow, middle, protects the ball during a recent game against Coon Rapids. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka’s JP Grow, middle, protects the ball during a recent game against Coon Rapids. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka dropped to 1-4 overall after being held to a season low 38 points by co-Northwest Suburban Conference leading Elk River (3-0) Dec. 14. Four days later No. 9-ranked Wayzata not only matched the Elks’ output (63 points), but Anoka once again struggled to score, lowering its low for the season to 37 points. Trojans Zach Robertson and Nick Eid each had a game-high 13 points and teammate Bradley Carlson added 12 points to give them three players in double-digits. Anoka’s Malcom Seals and Zach Engen each had eight points, while the rest of the team was kept to four points or less.

Seals was held to a season-low two points against the Elks, while Torry Ledin and J.P. Grow each had nine points to lead the Tornadoes. Elk River’s Clay Elrod had a game-high 20 points as three players scored at least 13 points.

Andover rolls past Coon Rapids
After losing to Osseo by 36 points Dec. 14, Andover (1-3) rebounded against cross-town rival Coon Rapids 78-49 Dec. 18 for its first win of the season.

Andover jumped out to a 40-15 lead on the Cardinals (0-4) by the end of the first half  and cruised from there as the teams combined for 72 points in the second half. Huskies’ Cameron Wold and Zach Swanson each had 15 points and Tykeise Johnson also had 15 points to guide the Cardinals.

Blaine's Jason Travis, right, tries to knock the ball from Coon Rapids' Alex Boxwell during their conference game at Coon Rapids, Dec. 14. Photo by Bill Jones

Blaine’s Jason Travis, right, tries to knock the ball from Coon Rapids’ Alex Boxwell during their conference game at Coon Rapids, Dec. 14. Photo by Bill Jones

Coon Rapids has lost by an average of 26.5 points heading into Thursday’s match-up against top-ranked Park Center (4-0).

Blaine
The Bengals (3-3, 2-2) nearly handed co-conference leaders Elk River its first loss of the season Tuesday evening. In the end, Elks’ senior Porter Morell had a game-high 18 points, including a three-pointer to make it 48-46 with 30 seconds left. Blaine guard Joe Robel had a buzzer-beating shot fall short of the hoop to end the game in heartbreak for the Blaine faithful.

Junior Wing Matt Barthels had a Blaine-high 13 points as it dropped to sixth place in the conference with a 2-2 record between Champlin Park (2-1) and the Dec. 19-opponent Anoka (1-2).

Tuesday’s game came three days after the Bengals edged St. Louis Park 78-76 inside the Blaine fieldhouse. The Orioles came back from a 13-point deficit to lead 53-51 with 13:00 left in the second half. The contest was back-and-forth from that point as Bengals senior Justin Mbanefo made both free throws with 26.1 seconds left to lead 78-74. St. Louis Park had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but the shot was off the mark.

Barthels had a game-high 28 points while St. Louis Park’s Kashif Hayes had 26 points.

Legacy Christian
Legacy (4-2) opened its MCAA Conference schedule with an emphatic Homecoming win, 59-47, over PACT Charter School Dec. 15.

The Lions added a third win in four games Tuesday night by way of a 68-37 victory against FAIR.

Spring Lake Park
The Panthers broke the century mark for their fourth win of the young season to top St. Paul Como Park 105-84 Dec. 18. The previous high-mark was a 97-95 loss to Farmington in the Spring Lake Park home opener Dec. 11.

Spring Lake Park followed that with a second-straight loss to a south-metro squad, this time at perennial power Eastview 66-57 before rebounding against Cambridge-Isanti, 81-66, in the North Suburban Conference opener Dec. 14. Guard Robert Ben led the way with 24 points.

Tuesday night’s non-conference win over Como Park featured Panthers guard TC Robinson scoring 34 points while teammate Gary Cook continued to shine with 19 points. Alex Peck added 13 points, while Robert Ben and Trevor Hall each had 10 points. Justin Axelson had five points which came on the heels of an eight-point performance against Cambridge.

Como Park countered with Keiron Sauer’s 24 points.

PACT Charter School
PACT won consecutive games in as many days following a 58-52 road win at Fourth Baptist Christian Dec. 18 after handing Math and Science Academy a 66-28 defeat Dec. 17. The wins boost the Panthers to a 3-2 record.

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