It was three on the road for the boys basketball team this past week and winter sports cranked it up a notch for the roundballers.
The competition wasn’t getting any easier as SJA hit the road against Blue Earth Area, then onto Mountain Lake and the boys played Windom Area on Tuesday. All of the teams had better records and were ranked higher in the state rankings.
One big benefit for the Saints as they hit the road was the return of junior Walker Froehling to the starting lineup. Froehling had been sidelined by a medical condition over the Holiday Tournament between Christmas and New Years.
According to Assistant Basketball Coach Landis Froehling, the father of Walker, there was a concern Walker had a serious heart condition that required Walker to sit out the Holiday Basketball Tournament held in St. James between Christmas and New Years.
Dad said to the Plaindealer, "Doctors ruled out hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which was their major concern."
Walker still needs to see a cardiologist in Mankato according to his father.
SJA could use Froehling as through the first few games of December Froehling was the Saints number two scorer. He was the top three point shooter in shots attempted, made and was dropping in 52 percent of the shots from behind the arc.
Overall, among the starters, he was second in field goal percentage at 44 percent. He was second in free throws attempted and made.
Walker was first in assists, blocks and rebounds. At 6’5” he was the tallest player the Saints could put on the floor.
Saints lose to Windom 77-61
The Saints lost at Windom 77-61 on Tuesday night, and the final margin was pretty much established at the star of the game as the Saints fell behind 25-10.
Head Coach Steve Walker said the boys switched to a man to man and they made a little bit of a run. The Saints were down 39-27 at half.
The Saints came out strong at the beginning of the second half with a 9-2 run to cut it to 41-36.
Windom answered with a run to go up double digits and playing their third road game in six days the Saints didnt have enough left in the tank to make another run.
Coach Walker said, “We had good balanced scoring with four players in double figures but we didnt shoot well from the floor (35 percent).
Page 2 of 3 - “We need to work on making an extra pass or two to get better more open looks as sometimes when we get down we force things a bit as everyone is trying to make a play to get us over the hump.”
Joe Nelson led the Saints with 19 points, Zach Brandts had 15, and Ryan Menssen and Walker Froehling each had ten.
The Saints turned the ball over 19 times compared to having 11 steals. Menssen was the top rebounder with eight.
Mt. Lake 66, SJA 51
When most of the nation was paying attention to the national championship game, at least until the end of the first quarter, the boys team headed down the road to take on Mt. Lake.
Mt. Lake beat the Saints 66 to 51. These are teams moving in opposite directions. After losing their first two, Mountain Lake has won eight in a row. After winning it’s season opener, the Saints have lost eight in a row.
Zach Brandts had 18 points to lead the Saints. Joe Nelson was the only other Saint in double figures with ten. As a team SJA shot 34 percent form the floor and made 7 fo 14 free throws.
Head Coach Steve Walker said this about the game against Mt. Lake, “They are a very talented team and can hurt you from many areas.
“Offensively we shot the ball poorly and it seemed that as we missed more we made fewer passes offensively and got away from ball movement.
“We battled but certainly had an off night shooting which has been a key for us. We only turned it over 6 times which is very good, but we didn't play well enough on the offensive end.”
Saints fall to BEA 80-75
The boys basketball team began their three game road trip by rolling on down to Blue Earth. In what has been common in games early this year, the Saints dropped another close game 80-75.
SJA got Walker Froehling back after the junior sat out a couple of games over the holiday break while he had a heart condition checked out.
In Walker Froehling’s absence, junior Ryan Menssen has stepped up his game. Against BEA, Menssen led the Saints in scoring with 25 points. He was 4 of 6 from behind the arc and overall he shot a blazing 69 percent from the floor.
Page 3 of 3 - Zach Brandts had 24 points and made 53 percent of his shots.
Overall, the Saints shot a solid 45 percent from the floor. What might have made a difference against BEA is better free throw shooting. The Saints were just 11-20 at the line for 55%.
Head Coach Steve Walker summed up the game, “ It was a tight game all the way. They shot the ball very well from the perimeter. They were 9-12 shooting threes.
‘We took a one point lead a couple of times late and had a couple of chances to tie and go ahead late but just couldn’t get it done. We just couldnt get a stop when we needed one.”