Mabel-Canton’s Donnie Lind takes to the air to shoot over a Rochester Home School defender. Also shown is Cougar Mac Nelson.  HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS-RECORD
Mabel-Canton’s Donnie Lind takes to the air to shoot over a Rochester Home School defender. Also shown is Cougar Mac Nelson. HEATHER KLEIBOER/NEWS-RECORD
The Mabel-Canton boys basketball team improved its record last week by winning two games, but dropping another in a close game.

Mabel-Canton at Lanesboro

The Cougars won a wild game in Lanesboro on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 65-56.

The score was knotted numerous times, and swings put both teams up as well. Lanesboro enjoyed a 16-8 lead in the early going, only to see their guests roar back before the half. Mabel-Canton took a 25-24 lead, then the score was tied at 26-all as the first half wound down. Keyser Wenthold hit a trey as time expired, and the Cougars went to the locker room leading 29-26.

Another trey by the same player opened the second half. But the Burros responded, gaining a 41-40 lead on a Kole Ruud trey minutes later. Hunter Johnson answered with back-to-back twos for the Cougars (41-44), and Ruud scored another triple to tie it up at 44. After a 48-all tie, Lanesboro regained the lead with just under five minutes to play. That's when the Cougars took the momentum, going up 57-54. Six clutch free-throws down the stretch sealed the win for M-C.

Johnson led the Cougars with 17 points. He also grabbed three rebounds, lifted a pair of steals and dished out two assists. Wenthold hit for 15, including three for five from beyond the three-point line. He passed for three assists and rebounded twice. Donnie Lind chalked up a 12-point, 12-rebound double double, and blocked two shots. Noah Manning scored eight points, pulled down four boards and passed for three assists. Mac Nelson came off the bench for seven points, 10 rebounds and a steal.

Both teams hit an identical 10 of 16 from the foul line. The turnover tussle was nearly even, with M-C losing the ball 19 times and Lanesboro on 18 occasions. But rebounding favored the Cougars, 33 to 24.

In a rare turn for Burro foes, the Cougars averaged 38 percent from trey territory while Lanesboro only hit 27 percent. More importantly, M-C got a half dozen more baskets closer to the hoop.

Ruud led the Burros with 16 points. Luke Rogers poured in 15, and Garrett Boggs 10.

Mabel-Canton vs. Rochester Home School

Two nights later, M-C edged a very tall team from Rochester Home School, the Defenders, 52-48.

The Cougars shot a bit better from two-point and three-point distances, but the Defenders out-boarded their hosts 36-33. M-C got two of eight free throws, while the home school team hit three of four.

Turnovers are what hurt the guests, as the Defenders lost the ball 26 times to 17 for the Cougars. M-C led 23-20 at intermission.

Nine more points from triple territory made the difference. Brad Parlier hit a trey for Rochester, but the Defenders missed 10. M-C attempted 22 from downtown, and scored four times. Wesley Richert hit two of six, while Wenthold got two of five.

Manning led the Cougars with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists with only two turnovers. Wenthold totaled 12 points, six boards, five steals and six assists. He also deflected six Defender passes. Richert added 10 points, two rebounds and an assist. Lind hit for nine, grabbed four rebounds, blocked two shots, lifted two steals and passed for two assists. Johnson scored four points and snagged five rebounds. He also blocked a shot and passed for an assist. Nelson also scored four and had five boards. He also took three steals away from the visitors.

Six-foot-five Noah Plevak finished with 16 points for Rochester. Brad Parlier poured in 11, while CJ Lucas added 10.

Mabel-Canton at Grand Meadow

On Friday, the Cougars traveled to Grand Meadow (GM). M-C lost a game that was close in more ways than one, 46-43.

Both teams scored 16 two-point field goals, but the Cougars also hit three triples while the Superlarks missed all nine of their tries from beyond the arc. GM made up the difference, and more, at the foul line. Stepping to the charity stripe for 20 attempts, Superlark shooters calmly netted 14. Mabel-Canton only got five foul shots, hitting two.

With the score knotted at 43, sophomore guard Michael Stejskal hit a two-point bucket for the Superlarks with under a minute to go. The Cougars missed a trey try, then fouled Landon Jacobson, who hit one of two free throws. A turnover as the clock ran out denied the Cougars one last chance to tie.

GM led slightly in rebounds, 31-29. Turnovers were dead even, at 21 per team.

Johnson scored 17 points, nabbed seven rebounds and stole the ball three times. Manning netted nine points, five rebounds, one steal and three assists. Wenthold scored six points and grabbed four rebounds. He lifted four steals and passed for four assists. Richert hit for five points and passed out two assists. Lind led the Cougars on the boards with eight rebounds. He also blocked a shot and scored two points. Nelson had a block, a board and a steal.

Up next

The Section 1A East tourney kicks off this week, with high seeds hosting. Sixth-seed M-C plays number three Fillmore Central in Preston on Thursday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. The next two rounds are Feb. 25 and March 1 at Mayo Civic Auditorium.

M-C has made it to the sub-section finals once, losing to Rushford-Peterson in 2006. The Trojans are seeded first in the 1A East again this year, and hold a record of 47-3 in subsection play since Minnesota went to four classes in 1997.