The Randolph Rockets boys basketball team connected on 12 three point baskets in a 70-53 win over the defending Section 1A Champion Rushford-Peterson Trojans Wednesday night in Rochester.  6'2 junior Nick Drinken had 6 three point buckets and 6'4 senor Carsyn Gunderson 4 three point baskets in the game.  Both finished with 18 points each.

6'4 junior Isaac Stoesz also contributed 10 points off the bench and helped provide some muscle in the middle against some big Trojans.  The Rockets led 27-20 at the half after draining 6 three point baskets in the first half and hitting 5 of 6 free throws.  Drinken tallied 9 in the first half, Gunderson had 7 points and senior 5'9 Alex Wille added 5 points.

Before the game Randolph Head Coach Kent Otte told KDHL the Gergen's Plumbing and Home Services of Randolph keys to the game would be limiting their turnovers and rebounding.  The number one Gergen's Plumbing key he said was rebounding.

The Rockets did a great job on the glass.  I recall one particular rebound when the game was close. Stoesz didn't get the rebound but boxed out a much bigger Rushford-Peterson player allowing senior 6'2 Andrew Wenstrom to grab the ball.

Turnovers were not a factor in the second half.  At the half Rushford-Peterson had committed 9 turnovers, Randolph 7.  The Rockets had 7 points off those turnovers and the Trojans 0.  Totals in the game were 11 turnovers for Randolph and 13 for Rushford-Peterson.  Randolph had 3 points off turnovers and so did the Trojans in the second half.

Rushford-Peterson's only senior Landon Skalet saw his career come to an end after trying to put the team on his back.  He scored 23 points, 16 in the second half.

One of the key stats in the game was Randolph going 18 of 24 at the free throw line and Rushford-Peterson 4 of 7.

The Trojans ended their season 18-11 but look out.  Skalet was the only senior on this year's squad.  Randolph is now 26-2 and plays Friday at 6:00 p.m. against top seed Spring Grove for the Section 1A title and a berth into next week's MSHSL State Tournament.

The Spring Grove Lions hit a shot at the buzzer to defeat Hayfield in the earlier game 45-43.

The Lions defeated Randolph the day before the Rockets downed Rushford-Peterson in late December.  Spring Grove won 66-45.   The only other Randolph loss came against Pine Island on Valentines Day 75-51.

Spring Grove is 22-4.  Their only losses to Rushford-Peterson, Mayer Lutheran, Christ's Household of Faith and Charles City, Iowa.

Hayfield looked on the verge of an upset with the ball following a time out taken with under 10 seconds to go. After the ball was thrown in bounds it appeared from across the floor that a Spring Grove player was going to attempt to foul because the Lions had 5 fouls to give.  The player hit the ball off the leg of the Viking and Spring Grove got the ball back with 7.4 seconds to go for the last shot with the game tied at 43.

About an 8 foot shot was missed and senior 6'4 Eric Matzke put the shot up from about 10 feet and in just before the buzzer sounded for the Spring Grove win.

The Section 1AA Tournament will crown a new champion Friday night also.  The St. Charles Saints, the number six seed in the tournament beat defending Section Champion Caledonia 65-63.  I was told the Warriors missed a layup at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime.

The other game top seed Lake City downed LaCrescent-Hokah 61-43.

So Friday night in the Arena the early game will be the Section 1A Championship between Randolph and Spring Grove.  Coverage on KDHL will begin 5:45 p.m.

The Section 1 Class 2A title game is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. start.  The Tournament Cinderella St. Charles Saints march up against the Lake City Tigers.

Thursday night's Class 3A Section 1 final between Austin and Northfield will be on POWER 96 Radio, 95.9 FM and on the POWER 96 app.  Brad Fisher will have the call from the Mayo Civic Arena with coverage starting approximately 5:45 p.m.

The Section 1 Class 4A Championship game is a repeat for the seventh straight year.  Lakeville North plays Rochester John Marshall.  The Rockets have won all the other previous meetings.

Rochester Mayo Civic Auditorium Scoreboard before Final Possession of Game. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld