LAKEVILLE — A second-half sputter prevented the Stillwater boys’ basketball team from sweeping two games at Lakeville North on Thursday and Friday.
The Ponies (1-1 SEC, 5-2) defeated Shakopee 65-57 in the opener of this three-team event on Thursday and then faded late in the second half of a 77-65 loss to ninth-ranked Lakeville North (7-2). Shakopee later defeated the Panthers 64-63 in Saturday’s finale.
“(North) was a quality team and we showed we could play with those good teams, we just have to learn how to finish,” Ponies coach Randy Jordan said. “It was good competition.”
Facing a team with a starting front line that measures 6-7, 6-7 and 6-5, the Ponies handled Shakopee’s size and its zone defense with a solid effort on Thursday. Stillwater even held a 36-26 rebounding edge, led by Matt Anderson with 11 rebounds to go along with his seven points.
Tony Lennox provided the outside scoring while draining five 3-pointers against that zone defense to finish with a game-high 17 points. Andrew Duxbury added 16 points for the Ponies, who made 9 of 22 attempts from outside the three-point arc.
“We battled their size and Anderson had a good day as far as getting to the boards,” Jordan said.
Stillwater never trailed in the game and led by eight points at halftime, maintaining a slight lead throughout the second half.
“We were pretty much in control, but we were never comfortable,” Jordan said. “With that zone they played we had trouble scoring, but they definitely were a tough team.”
Shakopee 26 31 — 57
Stillwater 34 31 — 65
Shakopee (pts): Brody Dole 4, Evan Hagen 2, John Burlager 14, Nolan Fischer 5, Tyler Weiss 13, Dominick Schleper 2, Steffon Mitchell 4 and Jake Maiers 13.
Stillwater: Sam Lagus 5, Aaron Romportl 8, Andrew Duxbury 16, Tony Lennox 17, Matt Anderson 7, Chad Schlosser 6 and Joel Malwitz 2.
Free throws: Sh, 8-16; St, 10-19.
Lakeville North 77, Stillwater 65
Hoping to knock off its second ranked team of the season, the Ponies were outscored down the stretch in Friday’s loss to the host Panthers.
“I thought we outplayed them until the last five or six minutes,” Jordan said. “They definitely executed down the stretch better than we did.”
Stillwater led by six points at halftime, but the Panthers slowly erased that deficit and the game remained tied with less than four minutes remaining. North then turned a small lead into a larger one while making its free throws down the stretch — connecting on 18-24 in the game.
“They just kept picking away at our lead and they hit some shots,” Jordan said. “The last five or six minutes they got to the line a lot more than we did. We looked fatigued in the second half of that basketball game.”
Duxbury finished with 16 points to lead the Ponies, who made 17 of 20 free throws. Lennox also chipped in with 12 points and Joe Quinn added 10 points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Stillwater 37 28 — 65
Lakeville North 31 46 — 77
Stillwater: Sam Lagus 9, Aaron Romportl 2, Andrew Duxbury 16, Nick Ogren 3, Tony Lennox 12, Joe Quinn 10, Matt Anderson 9, Chad Schlosser 2 and Joel Malwitz 2.
Lakeville North: Kyrell Newell 6, Zach Creighton 20, Grant Erickson 19, Connor Flack 1, Drew Stewart 5, JP Marcus 20 and Bronson Bruneau 6.
Free throws: St, 17-20; LN, 18-24.