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Yukon Territories

Boys basketball: Cardinals make a statement with 26-point win over Holy Family Catholic – Alexandria Echo Press

ST. CLOUD — The Alexandria boys’ basketball team faced Holy Family Catholic on Friday at Breakdown’s Granite City Classic on a five-game winning streak and was looking to increase that streak to six.

Alexandria led the entire first half and held a 37-29 lead at halftime. After beating Holy Family Catholic 22-2 in the first six and a half minutes of the second half, Alexandria got the cushion they needed and won 79-53.

“I thought we could couple defensive stops with buckets on the offensive end,” Alexandria head coach Forrest Witt said of the second-half run. “We felt a little bit more comfortable with what they were trying to do in their attack. We were more aggressive and took a few more shots, which loosens you up a bit.”

The Cardinals also got the last four points of the first half.

6-foot-9 forward Grayson Grove, who has drawn interest and some NCAA DI offers, had a game-high 31 points for Alexandria on Friday.

“I’m locked up the day before the game,” Grove said. “It’s the only thing on my mind. I came ready to play and so did the rest of the team. That’s how we got going.”

Grayson Grove - DSC_9739.JPG

Alexandria Junior Grayson Grove takes a corner kick with a three-pointer in Alexandria’s 79-53 win over Holy Family Catholic on December 30, 2022. Grove had a game-high 31 points and hit five three-pointers.

Sam Stuve/Alexandria Echo Press

Grove knocked down five threes in the win.

“He’s set some goals where he envisions where he wants to go and I think that’s obviously a motivating factor,” Witt said. “He’s also an extremely selfless team-first guy. It’s pretty cool to see someone of his caliber focus on putting the team first and then know that he obviously has a key role to play in what we’re doing. He was great at the beginning of this season.”

Grove and company faced a Holy Family Catholic team in which Boden Kapke, a 6-foot-10 center, and another 6-foot-10 center, Colin Mulholland, passed, who committed, college basketball to play at NCAA DI schools. Kapke, a senior, has verbally committed to play at Butler University, while Mulholland is also a senior committed to play at Chattanooga University.

Kapke was held to four baskets and 12 points by Grove, 6-foot-7 forward Chase Thompson, 6-foot-3 guard Jaxon Schoenrock and the rest of the Alexandria defense. Mulholland finished the game with a point.

“I thought Grayson and Chase did a good job on the interior to get her off the block, which isn’t easy given her size,” Witt said. “I thought collectively our defense, man for man, and then our 31 defense came out big.”

HFC- Boden Kapke-DSC_9878.JPG

Alexandria’s Jaxon Schoenrock (4) and Chase Thompson (3) double up for Holy Family Catholic’s Boden Kapke during a game on December 30, 2022. Kapke, a dedicated Butler, scored 12 points in the game but Alexandria won the game 79-53.

Sam Stuve/Alexandria Echo Press

The Cardinals made it into the fire early thanks to some steals and easy baskets in the transition.

“It created a lot of momentum,” said Jaxon Schoenrock of Alexandria.

Schönrock had 14 points in the game.

Several Cardinals got involved early on offense, including Bralyn Steffensmeier, who finished the game with nine points.

“We had to do some exterior shots there because they really clogged things up inside,” Witt said. “And I don’t think we moved exceptionally well early on, but whenever you can hit some perimeter shots the zone has to think about where they’re going and it loosens up some things inside.”

The Cardinals made 10 threes in the win while keeping the fire on threes.

Alexandria (6-1) gave Holy Family Catholic its first loss of the season (5-1) and kept it at a season-low in points.

Holy Family Catholic scored at least 76 points in four of their five games and averaged 83.4 points per game on Friday.

“We have a team full of heart,” Grove said. “There is so much hectic and passion in this team. We knew what we had to do and we did it.”

Dawson Roderick - DSC_9770.JPG

Alexandria’s Dawson Roderick steals and leads a quick break in Alexandria’s 79-53 win over Holy Family Catholic on December 30, 2022.

Sam Stuve/Alexandria Echo Press

Alexandria came in as the No. 6 team in Class 3A in the Minnesota Basketball News poll by Pacesetter Sports, while Holy Family Catholic went in as the No. 1 team in Class 2A.

“We knew they were a good team,” said Schoenrock. “They have two big children and a good guard. We knew we had to bring momentum and it all worked out for us. That will only help us to face the future with a lot of confidence.”

The Cardinals got into Friday’s game after beating St. Francis 73-51 in their first game of the Granite City Classic on Thursday.

“We have a damn good double strike inside and then I think our perimeter guys come around,” said Witt. “They’re starting to feel comfortable with the pace of the game at the varsity level and I just like how we’re developing as a team.”

Kole Hanson led the Fire offense with 25 points.

The Cardinals have since lost 82-78 to Benilde-St. Margaret’s (which is now ranked 3rd in Class 3A in the MBN poll) on December 2nd.

Jaxon Schönrock-DSC_9779.JPG

Alexandria’s Jaxon Schoenrock is looking for an open teammate to match in a 79-53 win over Holy Family Catholic on December 30, 2022.

Sam Stuve/Alexandria Echo Press

“We lost the first game against a very good Benilde-St. Margaret’s team, which is one of the best teams in the state and we’ve stuck with it,” Schoenrock said. “After that we just took that momentum into the next game. We knew we were a good team. After the first we just had to use the momentum.”

Alexandria’s six wins this season were decided by a 24.1 average, and only one of his wins (against St. Cloud Tech) came by less than 22 points.

“We just have to keep building up in training,” said Schönrock. “Our JV team gives us a really good look and we just work hard every day.”

Alexandria is back at home against St. Cloud Apollo (1-7) on Friday, January 5 at 7:15 p.m.

“We had some really good games, but that’s in the past,” said Witt. “We’ve done some good things, but we have a lot that we think we can improve on. That’s the next step. We look at the next opponent Apollo and try to get better in these exercises that lead to it. We’re just hungry.”

Alexandria-37 42-79

Catholic Holy Family – 29 24 – 53

ALEXANDRIA SCORING – Grayson Grove, 31 pts; Chase Thompson, 4 points; Jaxon Schoenrock, 14 points; Bralyn Steffensmeier, 9 points; Maurer Gorghuber, 4 points; Maurer Witt, 5 points; Dawson Roderick, 7 points

HOLY FAMILY CATHOLIC SCORE – Braylon Cummings, 8 points; Michael Richlsen, 3 points; Kole Hanson, 25 points; Collin Mulholland, 1 point; Michael Frost, 2 points; Boden Kapke, 12 points

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