ROSEVILLE — Defense and rebounding won out on Friday as Stillwater handed high-scoring Roseville a 68-52 Suburban East Conference boys’ basketball setback.
The Ponies (9-5 SEC, 15-6), who have four victories this season against teams that are or have been ranked among the state’s top 10, knocked the Raiders (11-3, 17-5) out of a first-place tie with Woodbury (12-2, 19-3) atop the league standings.
And while a conference title is likely out of reach, the Ponies have defeated each of the top three teams in the SEC standings at least once this season. Friday’s win was a stark contrast to the previous meeting when Roseville recorded a 74-54 victory over the Ponies on Jan. 11.
“We walked out of that game not knowing if we’d ever be able to play with them,” Stillwater coach Randy Jordan said. “I think the kids went into it wanting to see where we’re at. They’ve been picked to win the section all year and we wanted to have a measuring stick because only a month ago they beat us by 20. I thought the kids went into it pretty relaxed and wanted to measure where we were at and I think they proved to themselves that on a given night we can beat anybody.”
Senior Joe Quinn delivered an inspired performance for the Ponies while racking up a triple-double with 11 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocked shots. Matt Anderson added 19 points and 16 rebounds while helping Stillwater to a 47-23 rebounding edge.
“Quinn and Anderson had their best games of the year,” Jordan said.
Aaron Romportl and Sam Lagus also provided strong efforts defensively while matching up with Roseville’s leading scorer Mackenzie Johnson and point guard Kobe Critchley — holding the duo to a combined four points in the first half when the Ponies built a 35-21 lead.
“Those two did a great job on defense shutting them down,” Jordan said.
Andrew Duxbury led all scorers with 21 points and also pulled down nine rebounds to contribute to Stillwater’s lop-sided advantage on the boards. Duxbury connected on 11 of 18 free throws as the Ponies outscored Roseville 24-6 at the line. Quinn drained 7 of 8 free throws and Anderson finished 5 for 6 at the line.
“Dux did a nice job getting to the basket and Quinn did a nice job of offensive rebounding,” Jordan said. “They don’t allow you to shoot from the perimeter very much so we decided we were going to take the ball at them.”
Stillwater shot 51 percent from the field, but it was the defense that paved the way against a team that averages 77 points a game, but shot just 29 percent on Friday.
“I have to give our defense more credit than our offense,” Jordan said. “We had 19 turnovers and they only had seven, so it wasn’t really our offense. We were a lot more patient, making them play defense.
“We didn’t let (Logan) Brown get off on us and they couldn’t seem to hit shots. We can’t take total credit for it, but I thought we didn’t give them really any open looks, but maybe some shots on other nights they maybe make. The biggest thing is that we controlled the boards.”
Roseville never seriously challenged in the second half, climbing no closer than nine points.
Jacques Perra hit three 3-pointers and led the Raiders with 11 points while Johnson and Critchley added 10 points apiece. Johnson tossed in 22 points in Roseville’s victory over the Ponies earlier this season, which is right at his season scoring average.
Stillwater 35 33 — 68
Roseville 21 31 — 52
Stillwater (pts): Connor Gamble 4, Aaron Romportl 6, Andrew Duxbury 23, Tony Lennox 3, Joe Quinn 11, Matt Anderson 19 and Chad Schlosser 2.
Roseville: Mackenzie Johnson 10, Ben Farmer 3, Logan Brown 4, Evan Kacmarynski 4, Kobe Critchley 10, Jordan Burich 8, Derek Magnuson 2 and Jacques Perra 11.
3-pointers: St (4): Gamble, Romportl 2 and Lennox; Ros (6): Johnson 2, Evan Kacmarynski and Jacques Perra 3.
Free throws: St, 24-36; Ros, 6-14.
Fouls: St, 15; Ros, 25.
Fouled out: Ros, Farmer.
Contact Stuart Groskreutz at firstname.lastname@example.org