Mustangs nip Wolves 59-56 in Section 5AA cage play

“This was a season to remember for the fact that we turned this program back to a winner.”
Those were the comments from Milaca boys basketball coach Dustin Naumann following a 59-56 season-ending playoff overtime setback at the hands of Mora.
The Wolves had won out twice earlier during the regular season, stopping the Mustangs 68-56 on the road, while winning out at home by a 73-47 margin.
Heading into the opening round of the Section 5AA North playoffs Milaca was seeded fourth, with Mora entering as the No. 5 seed.
“You could tell that our guys were quite nervous to start out as it was a big game to have at home and it was a packed house which was nice to see after 11 years of no home playoff games,” Naumann said.
He went on to say, “we did enough things right in the first half to have a 20-19 lead at the half.”
According to Naumann, Mora’s zone defense was stout enough to give his team some trouble, but he pointed to the fact his team forced themselves into bad shots and then “our” defensive effort was also lacking.
The game was tied with only 11 seconds to go in regulation and Naumann called a timeout to set up his team’s last play.
“We got the open shot and missed , but we got the offensive rebound but we couldn’t get it up as time expired,” Naumann explained.
In the overtime period, according to Naumann, Mora’s best player got going and scored 10 of their 13 points.
However, Milaca still had a chance to tie with six seconds left in overtime as Naumann related, “we set up a play but their was some miscommunication and we got a good look shot off but missed it as time expired,” putting an end to the season.
In looking back Naumann added, “we shot extremely poor for the game and we had way too many turnovers. We won the rebounding battle but we turned 15 offensive rebounds into only four second chance points.”
Naumann also pointed to the fact his team allowed Mora to shoot too effectively from two-point range and that was “the difference.”
For the Wolves Justin Fransen led the way with 19 points to go along with his eight rebounds.
Levi Hunt gave the Wolves a “big boost,” according to Naumann, with his four three-pointers, to finish with 12 points.
Cathedal 73,
Milaca 62
In earlier final regular season play the Wolves were involved in a back-and-forth game against St. Cloud Cathedral, only to lose out by a 73-62 margin.
Naumann pointed out that’s the way the first half played out, with neither team taking a “good grasp” on the game, with Cathedral leading 36-32 at the intermission.
Play in the second half saw Cathedral come out with “some energy,” while “we didn’t show great poise,” Naumann said.
He continued, “they took a big lead (18 points) late and didn’t look back and our defense was our downfall.”
Naumann pointed to the fact, “we allowed them to shoot 58 percent from 2- point range and that is way too much.”
Matt VanSomeren led the way for Milaca with 14 points and added five rebounds.
Nick Wolbert chipped in with 13 points, to go along with four rebounds on the night.
Trevor Roelofs put six point in the scorebook, while pulling down eight caroms.
Finishing 12-11 for the season and earning a home playoff game for the first time in a long time led Naumann to say, “I’m very proud of this group and the direction of the program.”
He concluded, “we are doing some good things that are going to set us up to be a tough team night in and night out.”