As the Maple Grove Boys basketball team entered their fourth game of the year, the Crimson need to improve their shooting. They found their touch around the basketball and from behind the arc as they evened their Northwest Suburban record at 1-1. The Crimson shot 59 percent from the field, including 9 for 16 on 3 pointfield goals, a marked improvement from previous games.
However, this game didn’t start well, as the Rebels jumped out 18-5 after 6 minutes into the game, scoring on fast break baskets from Crimson turnovers. The Crimson got a spark from their bench as Jake Sterling, Matt Lindgren and Elliot Kane combined for 7 points to make the score 20-17 with 10 minutes to play in the first half. However, the Rebels extended their lead again to 30-17 as the Crimson had 13 first half turnovers. In the final 5 minutes, Erik Olson scored 8 points to help Crimson close lead to 5 at the half.
The second half was an indication of what this team can do as the Crimson outscored Rebels 13-2 first 3 minutes. They attacked the basket, found the open man and hit big shots. Brandon Barta and Jake Wieneke combined for three 3pt FGs to make the score 48-42.
Brycen Wojta’s steal of an inbounds pass and layup pushed the lead to 52-42. In what was their best 10 minutes of basketball this season, they held a lead of 8-10 points despite the hot shooting of JT Gibson of Champlin who finished the game with 18.
Jake Wieneke’s silky smooth layup and Brandon Barta’s layup against the press gave the Crimson their largest lead with 4 minutes to play, 69-57. Down the stretch, Barta and Kane hit 7 of 8 FTs as the Crimson handled the Rebel pressure.
Balanced scoring, always a recipe for success, marked the Crimson’s first win. Wieneke finished with 20, Wojta had 13 along with 8 assists. Barta had a career high 12 points. Olson had 17 and tied the school record for blocked shots in a game with 7, including one erasure that ended up in the percussion section of the Rebel band.
The Crimson are idle until next Tuesday as they return home to play Armstrong.