WHITE BEAR LAKE — A sluggish start to each half plagued Stillwater in Friday’s 61-56 Suburban East Conference boys’ basketball loss at White Bear Lake, which completed a regular season sweep of the Ponies.
Stillwater (7-4 SEC, 12-5), which had its five-game winning streak snapped, fell behind by as many as 19 points early in the second half before charging back to within three points in the final minute.
“It seemed like out of our first nine possessions (of the second half) we had seven turnovers,” Stillwater coach Randy Jordan said. “It wasn’t like it was a lot of pressure on the defense, but we just weren’t in the right spot and rushed some things.”
The Ponies extended their pressure and forced some turnovers while climbing back into the game. Sam Lagus hit two 3-pointers to help spark the comeback and Aaron Romportl had a chance to tie the game, but was off the mark on a three-point attempt with 20 seconds remaining that would have tied the game. The Bers gathered the rebound and were able to pull away at the free throw line.
“We finally got some stops and started the fullcourt pressure and trapped out of it,” Jordan said. “We ended up getting some steals. We didn’t execute right away and fought from behind the whole game and just ran out of time.”
The Bears (7-4, 12-7) hit eight 3-pointers in their one-point victory over Stillwater on Dec. 21 and finished with nine on 21 attempts from long range on Friday, including five by Tanner Hinck, who finished with 17 points.
Andrew Duxbury totaled 18 for the Ponies to lead all scorers while Joe Quinn added 15, with many of those coming on lob passes after finding a soft spot in White Bear Lake’s 1-3-1 zone defense.
“We found Quinn a lot of times and he did a nice job getting some offensive boards for us,” Jordan said. “They’re a good defensive team and offensively they’re patient and don’t turn it over that much.”
Stillwater 23 33 — 56
WB Lake 35 26 — 61
Stillwater (pts): Sam Lagus 6, Aaron Romportl 4, Andrew Duxbury 18, Tony Lennox 9, Joe Quinn 15 and Matt Anderson 4.
White Bear Lake: Alex Rost 7, Connor Koll 5, Pat Mulvaney 5, Beau Smit 11, Tanner Hinck 17, Andy Lockwood 6, Jacob Newman 4 and Connor Bosch 6.
3-pointers: St (6): Lagus 2, Duxbury, Lennox 3; WBL (9): Rost, Mulvaney, Hinck 5 and Lockwood 2.
Free throws: St, 8-13; WBL, 8-13.
Fouls: St, 14; WBL, 14.
Fouled out: None.