1/2/2014 10:54:00 AM Rockets repeat as champions at Grand Meadow
by Mike Dalton
For the second straight year, the Randolph High School boys basketball team is champion of the Grand Meadow holiday tournament. They won their first game 74-61 and the championship game 59-53.
Randolph opened with LeRoy-Ostrander, and L-O jumped out to an 8-2 lead. The Rockets came out in a full-court press. "Our guys are still learning how to work as a unit with our full-court pressure; credit our guys for staying calm when our pressure didn't work," coach Tony Linbo said.
The Rockets settled in a 2-3 defense and went to work on offense. "We know we can score, and we were patient enough to get good looks," Linbo said. LeRoy had a couple of players who were good scorers, but Randolph was able to shut them down and take a halftime lead.
Eric Otte led the team with 17 points, Kyle Volkert had 14, Drake Speight 13, Drew Weidner 12, David Speight seven, Hunter Ehlers four, Austin Moorhouse three, and Andrew Emery and Luke Dubbels two each.
Randolph faced host Grand Meadow in the championship game, a rematch of last year's tournament, with the Rockets again coming out on top.
Grand Meadow played a 1-3-1 half-court trap, but that didn't faze the Rockets much. They were able to push the ball upcourt after defensive rebounds, which didn't allow GM to set up defensively. "We had opportunities in the 1st half but couldn't capitalize," Linbo said, as RHS trailed 21-17 at the half.
The Rockets came out in the 2nd half with a different look on offense. "We kept pushing the ball to get good shots but also switched our half-court offense to get more movement from our post players," Linbo said.
After retaking the lead, Randolph again put on their diamond press and forced multiple turnovers. "That was the game-changer," Linbo said. "Grand Meadow couldn't handle the pressure and threw the ball away, giving us more opportunities on offense."
Volkert led with 16 points, Weidner had 12, David Speight and Moorhouse seven, Otte six and Ehlers four.
Randolph was at Faribault BA right before Christmas break, and had trouble with BA's half-court trap in a 55-40 loss.
The Rockets slowed things down early, got good shots on offense and scored in transition. They led 26-25 at the break.
BA turned up the heat in the 2nd half, employing a 1-2-2 trap to frustrate the Rockets. "It was a tale of two halves," Linbo said.
Volkert led with 11 points, Weidner had nine, Emery and Otte six, Moorhouse three, Jackson Neil and Drake Speight two, and David Speight had one.
The Rockets host Maple River on Friday. They are at LeRoy-Ostrander on Monday and New Richland on Friday, Jan. 10.