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Beacons looking to recapture early-season magic
The first third of the season couldn’t have gone much better for the Concordia Academy boys basketball team. The Beacons lost just one of their eight games before Christmas and headed into a holiday tournament with plenty of momentum.
Concordia added a victory in the first round of that holiday event but wins have been difficult to come by since. The Beacons enter this week on a five-game losing streak but still have time to right the ship.
“We’re still in transition mode,” said Concordia Academy head coach Eric Schutte. “We’ve still got 12 or 13 games to fix it.”
That transition came about when a starter quit the team because his family moved. The departure forced Schutte and his staff to do some lineup shuffling and the Beacons are still trying to get used to the change in personnel.
Another thing to note is that Concordia’s slide coincided with its schedule becoming heavy on teams from larger classes. The Beacons are a Class AA program and four of their losses during the losing streak came against Class AAA or AAAA teams.
“We play big schools because they push you and hopefully get you better,” Schutte said. “You’ve just got to make sure you don’t lose the mentality of the team.”
Northfield, a Class AAAA team, beat Concordia in the second round of the St. Cloud Cathedral holiday tournament and the Beacons have also lost to Class AAA squads Simley, DeLaSalle and St. Anthony Village since Jan. 1.
Playing DeLaSalle is tough any time but the Beacons were especially handcuffed because they had no practices the two days prior to the game. With school called off the first two days of last week because of the cold temperatures that blanketed the state, Concordia was unable to hold practices on those days.
In its first nine games, Concordia played only two higher-class teams and came away with a loss to Class AAA Fridley and a win over Class AAAA Irondale in those contests.
The loss to St. Anthony was frustrating because it was a conference loss against a team that entered the game with only one victory on the season. Concordia led by as many as 10 points in the first half and 12 early in the second before things went south.
The first half was a story of missed opportunities as Concordia had St. Anthony scrambling early but couldn’t capitalize on numerous shots from in close.
“We missed too many easy shots in the first half when we could have been up big,” Schutte said. “High percentage shots. We haven’t been shooting too well from the outside lately. We’re trying to get more high-percentage shots but we have to connect on them.”
Despite the shooting woes, Concordia led by seven at halftime and appeared poised to blow the game open after the break. The Beacons opened the second half on an 8-3 run to build its biggest lead of the game at 12 points at 40-28. They also led 44-32 before St. Anthony began its comeback.
St. Anthony went on a 15-2 run to take a 47-46 lead with 6:46 to play. The lead changed hands a half-dozen times until the final minute, when St. Anthony scored the final four points to clinch the 59-55 victory.
“It’s not a make-or-break game but it’s disappointing,” said Schutte. “I give them credit. They executed.”
Concordia’s schedule this week includes a pair of non-conference games. The first is Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at St. Croix Prep, which is located in Stillwater. On Friday, the Beacons host St. Paul Como Park at 7 p.m.
Roger Moore, Jr. is Concordia’s leading scorer at 17.6 points per game. His season high is 32, which he scored against Braham in the holiday tournament. Austin Moldenhauer is next at 14.1 and is followed by Will Preble at 12.6. Moldenhauer and Preble both have season-high games of 24 points. Moldenhauer’s came against St. Paul Washington in the second game of the season while Preble got his in the next game against Heritage Christian Academy.
Concordia Academy’s girls basketball team is off to a solid start as the regular season approaches the midway point. The Beacons have lost just three games and all were to Class AAA teams.
Among Concordia’s victories is a win over DeLaSalle, the defending Class AAA state champion. It was the Beacons’ first victory over the Islanders since the 2005-06 season.
Concordia’s leading scorer Michaela Walther led the team with 13 points against DeLaSalle and was joined in double figures by teammate Kristen Stude, who added 10. Walther averages 13.5 points per game while Stude is second on the team and scores 9.1 points per contest.
The Beacons suffered their first Tri-Metro Conference defeat last Friday at the hands of St. Anthony Village.
This week, Concordia steps out of conference for a pair of games, including a Friday night trip to Minneapolis Roosevelt. Next week, the Beacons return to conference play and a match-up on Jan. 21 against St. Croix Lutheran, which heading into this week was one of two teams (Minnehaha Academy is the other) unbeaten in Tri-Metro action.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.
Tri-Metro Conference boys basketball standings (Through Jan. 12)
|St. Croix Lutheran||1-1||8-4||1|
|St. Paul Academy||1-2||9-3||1 1/2|
|St. Anthony Village||1-2||2-11||1 1/2|
|St. Agnes||0-1||3-9||1 1/2|
Tri-Metro Conference girls basketball standings (Through Jan. 12)
|St. Croix Lutheran||2-0||7-3||1/2|
|St. Anthony Village||3-1||5-10||1/2|
|Providence Academy||1-3||3-10||2 1/2|
|St. Paul Academy||0-3||6-4||3|
|Mounds Park Academy||0-3||4-5||3|