The Crimson started quickly as Jake Wieneke slashed to the basket early, and Maple Grove was up 16-6. Brandon Barta was active as he had a stretch in which he hit a three, and had a rebound, steal and assist in a short time. The Crimson had good half-court defense that employed a number of steals that led to points. Erik Olson's tip in basket and layup on a sweet assist from Wieneke made it 22-11 and things looked good with 6 minutes to play in the half. Suddenly Elk River was able to get free on the perimeter and it was 22-19. Maple Grove called a timeout to stop the bleeding, but the Elks were on fire. Porter Morell led a 22-2 run and the half ended 33-24 in favor of the Elks. Morell finished the game with 27 points as he was able to either hit from distance or get to the rim.
It didn’t get much better as the second half started. The Crimson had several good looks, but couldn’t finish. The Crimson were down 13 when Wieneke helped the visitors get back into it. He had a wide back as he dished, knocked down 3s and went end to end to score. It was 46-44 after a blur without white leggings finished the retro three point play. Wieneke’s 20th point finished a 25-12 run that tied the game at 53 with 3:15 to play. But down the stretch, at a time with fundamentals win games, Elk River got several offensive rebounds that kept possessions alive or led to baskets. After Matt Lindgren’s 3 tied the score at 59, Elk River held the ball for the last 90 seconds. In the last 10 they attacked the hoop and Olson was able to contest the shot, but Elk River got another rebound and was fouled. After the Elk hit both throws and took a timeout, the Crimson got the ball to Wojta, but his drive to the rim was redirected. His kick back pass to Kaufman yielded an open look, but his shot was off and the game was over.
The loss may have an impact on the Crimson’s seeding of Section 5AAAA. This Section is the toughest in the state and will require a team to play three games of really good basketball. There are six teams who could be the section champ. The Crimson finish their regular season next week at Andover and home against Blaine.
Wieneke’s 20 led the Crimson. Olson and Wojta each had 12.