A sneaky Monday night battle

Prologue
To Heritage Christian for a very interesting game between the #6A Eagles and defending section 4AA champion St. Croix Lutheran.  Heritage coming off a thrilling 106-103 win at #4A Lakeview Christian despite giving up 53 to Anders Broman.  No Evan Parkhurst for Heritage.  He's out for another few weeks after injuring both wrists in the season opener.  1 is in a brace and the other is in a cast.  Mama Dee's special is tonight's menu choice.  For 5 bucks, a pork sandwich, a mini cup of 3 small chocolate chip cookies and 12 more ounces of beverage.  That bargain deal puts me at 352 ounces for the season.  Remember folks, Garfield had it right.  Always eat your dessert first.  A good small college crew in the building with Northland, St. Mary's, Bethel and Northwestern (MN) all taking in the game.   If you're picking the game based on mascot theory, its human with weapon over animal.  Will that hold?

Game Time
Cody Sticha opens the game with a bucket and adds on 3 triples.  Those 11 points lead St Croix Lutheran to 22-10 lead at the 11:45 mark of the first half.  Zach Weld for 3, Christian Pieper for 3 and 2 more after a turnover.  That's part of a quick 10-2 run to cut the Crusaders lead to 4.  Sticha with an assist for 3 and an inside bucket to keep the lead at 29-25 at the 5:45 mark.  34-30 St. Croix Lutheran at the 4:37 mark.  Heritage would respond with 10 in a row in just 1:35 with a Pieper jumper ending that run.  40-37 Heritage leading at the break.

St. Croix Lutheran comes out shorthanded as Jackson Goplen misses the entire second half.  Freshman lefty 6th man Aage Rovney takes over for him and more than holds his own.  He buries a 3 to cut the Heritage lead to 2 and force a timeout with 13:11 left.  Weld with a charge for his 4th foul and has to sit with 10:15 to play.  Rovney with another bomb and St. Croix Lutheran reclaims the lead 51-50 with 9:35 left.   Heritage would have answers.  Spencer Bland on the offensive glass to put the Eagles back on top.  Brad Basco picks up his 4th and stays in with 6:01 left.  That brings Weld back in the game.  After a Heritage 3 point play.  Weld with a drive on the right baseline and a nice lefty finish.   He then counters a Crusaders bucket with a left wing triple.  62-55 Heritage leading after a 12-4 run, 4:40 left.  Bland 2 more offensive rebounds earns him another bucket.  That's sandwiched by 3s from Sticha and Rovney.  64-61 Heritage with 2:45 left.  The teams trade scores and Heritage turns it over with 1:43 left.  They made a great save to keep possession but then a careless over and back gives it back to the Crusaders.  66-63 Heritage leading.  St Croix Lutheran misses and then gives their fouls.   The last is almost an intentional foul but Heritage doesn't get that benefit and they miss the front end.  Another Crusader miss and Weld makes 1 of 2 freebies with 23.4 to play.  St Croix Lutheran turns it over at the 3 point line as they rush back the other way and somehow Heritage is able to run out the clock without a foul.  Heritage defeats the Crusaders (and mascot theory) 67-63

Post Game
For St. Croix Lutheran, Cody Sticha leads the way with 18 points.  The lefty wing showed why he's one of the more underappreciated players in the Tri-Metro. But if he would have shot it well, he could have had 30.  Lincoln Hochmuth and Aage Rovney 12 each.  Rovney is part of a nice freshman group.  Add in Trenton Krueger, Marcus Cross (think Wesley Tucker) and Gunnar Maki to go with Rovney and soph Josh Arndt who saw a couple varsity minutes tonight and you have a nice group for the future.  The Crusaders fall to 4-3.  Next up is the Bethany Lutheran holiday tournament.

For Heritage, a very balanced night with 4 in double figures.  Zach Weld and Spencer Bland with 16 each.  Brad Basco 12, Christian Pieper with 11.  They got to loose balls and got after the glass more than St. Croix Lutheran did.  Bland was very effective grabbing those and converting them.  Weld came up big with 6 of the last 10 Eagles points after returning with 4 fouls in a 4 point game.  The Eagles stay undefeated at 6-0.  Good wins vs West Lutheran, at Lakeview Christian and now this win.  They will play in the Park Rapids tournament over the holidays before jumping into the MCAA schedule.

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