OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Mounds View used a 12-1 run in the first half to grab a nine-point lead, but that paled in comparison to what Stillwater answered with to secure a 55-35 Suburban East Conference boys’ basketball victory at Stillwater Area High School on Friday night.
The Ponies scored 28 straight points during an 11-minute stretch that began late in the first half to overtake and then pull away from Mounds View for a comfortable victory to snap a two-game losing streak.
“Twenty-eight, wow, I can’t remember a big run like that before,” Stillwater coach Randy Jordan said. “I’ve had some where we’ve scored 18 to 20, but not 28, wow.”
The run helped the Ponies (4-3 SEC, 8-4) erase a largely lackluster first half. Stillwater trailed 24-15 until scoring 11 straight points in the final 2:30 — capped by Tony Lennox’s 3-pointer at the buzzer — to carry a 26-24 advantage into halftime.
“The first 14, 15 minutes we had a lot of things that didn’t go well for us,” Jordan said. “I thought the kids played defnese for the most part and hustled hard, but we missed a lot of cheap lay-ups. I thought the last four minutes of the first half and into the second half might be the best defense we’ve had.”
Stillwater scored the first 17 points of the second half to pull away, with Andrew Duxbury scoring 11 of his game-high 20 points during that stretch. The Mustangs (), meanwhile, went ice cold while going more than 16 minutes without a field goal. Mounds View ended its more than 12-minute scoring drought on a free throw by Ryan Kaczynski with 9:32 remaining, but Stillwater’s lead never dipped below 18 points the rest of the way.
Aaron Romportl added nine points for the Ponies and Chad Schlosser chipped in with eight points and several hustle plays, the coach suggested. Mounds View shot just 24 percent from the field.
“(Duxbury) kind of good control and got hte ball in the bucket for us,” Jordan said. “I thought the kid that really stepped it up and hustled was Schlosser. He went after some loose balls and rebounds and that really picked up our defensive intensity. Romportl also does that all the time and you can always count on those two, especially, for giving you everything they’ve got.”
Ben Spencer finished with nine points to lead Mounds View, which features just three seniors on its entire roster and that trio combined to account for just one point against the Ponies, who were desperate for a victory after losing to Roseville and Forest Lake in their previous two games.
“Our quote was ‘stop the bleeding’. I mean we’ve lost two in a row,” Jordan said. “We should have never lost the one on Tuesday night and the kids realize that, but that’s the second time now it’s happened and we can’t let it happen anymore. I thought th ekids really came out adn they were focused and had some good energy. I thought it was a good effort andI was proud of the way we fought through that adversity the first half. In the second half of the game the other night at Forest Lake, our defense went to heck when the shots didn’t go, so it was nice to see when the shots didn’t go we still played defense.”
Duxbury, Joe Quinn and Schlosser each finished with seven rebounds for the Ponies.
n The Ponies (5-3 SEC, 9-4) also defeated East Ridge 68-60 on Tuesday night to knock the 10th-ranked Raptors (6-2, 12-3) out of a first-place tie with Roseville in the conference standings. See Thursday’s Gazette for story.
Mounds View 24 11 — 35
Stillwater 26 29 — 55
Mounds View (pts): Ryan Kaczynski 7, Jered Everson 8, Ky Christenson 1, James Van Eps 5, Ben Spencer 9 and Tim Hanson 5.
Stillwater: Sam Lagus 5, Aaron Romportl 9, Brian Branch 1, Andrew Duxbury 20, Tony Lennox 3, Joe Quinn 2, Matt Anderson 4, Chad Schlosser 8, Tommy Stanton 2 and Joel Malwitz 1.
3-pointers: MV (5): Hanson, Everson 2, Van Eps and Spencer; St (2): Romportl and Lennox.
Free throws: MV, 8-13; St, 15-21.
Fouls: MV, 18; St, 14.
Fouled out: none.