Boys lead two games but can't finish them

Milaca’s boys basketball team lost two Granite Ridge Conference games last week, games coach Dustin Naumann felt the Wolves could have won.

Little Falls topped Milaca 57-53 Monday, Jan. 13, at Milaca and Albany stopped the Wolves 67-51 Friday at Albany.

“It was a story of what could have been for us,” said Naumann. “We played some great basketball last week but we couldn’t finish the games after holding halftime leads in both.”

Milaca led Little Falls 38-33 at halftime.

“We weren’t able to extend our lead and Little Falls battled back,” said Naumann. “We ended up getting into foul trouble late in the game and we didn’t have enough energy in the tank to finish the game strong.”

Junior forward Mike Garber led Milaca with 14 points while senior guard Justin Fransen had 10. Senior guard Brian Kiel had eight points before fouling out, junior forward Nic Wolbert scored seven and senior center Matt VanSomeren and junior guard Levi Hunt each had six points.

Wolbert and VanSomeren each had seven rebounds.

“We played great for 32 minutes but the final four minutes really determined the outcome,” said Naumann. “We couldn’t capitalize on their 21 turnovers and we didn’t shoot well from three-point range and at the free-throw line.”

Milaca made just one of 14 three-point shots and just 12 of 23 free throws.

Fransen’s three-pointer just before the buzzer gave Milaca a 28-25 halftime lead at Albany. The Huskies then outscored the Wolves 42-23 in the second half.

“We got into early foul trouble and Albany’s best player got hot and we couldn’t stop him,” said Naumann. “We played well for about 30 minutes but again couldn’t close out the game.”

Senior guard Trevor Roelofs led Milaca with 18 points and he had nine steals. Garber added 10 points while Kiel had seven, Fransen six and Hunt 5.

The Wolves were outrebounded 36-21 and they had 20 turnovers.

Junior guard Nick Raeker led Albany with 30 points.

St. Cloud Cathedral, went into the week leading the GRC with a 6-0 record, followed by Albany at 6-1 and Zimmerman at 5-1.

Milaca, 2-5 in GRC games and 6-6 overall, was scheduled to travel to Cathedral tonight (Thursday, Jan. 23) but that game has been postponed. The Wolves will host Becker (3-4, 7-8) Tuesday, Jan. 28, at 7:30.

“We were disappointed with last week’s losses but glad to know we can compete with anyone,” said Naumann. “We are motivated to get back on track and work towards our goal of getting a home playoff game.

“We just need that killer instinct to finish out games.”