Huskies looking to find a groove

In winning only five games last season, the St. Anthony Village High School boys basketball team suffered through some growing pains while going with a young lineup. The Huskies are hoping to have learned from those trials and tribulations and can put that education to use this season.

There have been some recent signs that St. Anthony could be on the verge of a turnaround. The Huskies picked up their second and third wins of the season last week while putting together their first winning streak in two years.

"We were at about the same point last year," said St. Anthony head coach Chris Hergenrader. "The difference last year was we were getting blown out. We weren't competing, the boys weren't fighting -- part because we couldn't, part because we let it get to us. I haven't felt that this year at all."

Through 10 games, St. Anthony has won three and remained within striking distance throughout in the rest. The first win came by six points over Richfield on Dec. 2. That was followed by a three-game losing streak before last week's back-to-back victories.

"We've played well all year, just never two good halves together," Hergenrader explained. "We've been in every game, either at halftime or early in the second half. Streaks happen, things get broken down and the boys see a 10-point run go."

The first win of the current streak came on Dec. 16 as St. Anthony topped Trinity 68-50. Ben Peterson led the Huskies with 14 points and was joined in double figures by Rhys Langums, who added 11, and Tommy DeMars, who scored 10.

"Discipline, that was our word all week," Hergenrader said. "Take care of the ball, get the shots you want to get, the shots the team wants to get. The patience was there."

Three days later, the Huskies won its second game in a row by beating St. Paul Humboldt 78-65. The wins over Trinity and Humboldt were St. Anthony's first consecutive victories since beating St. Croix Lutheran and Columbia Heights in March of 2013. The 78 points were a season high and the most scored by the Huskies since beating St. Agnes 84-47 back in January.

Nick Knutson paced St. Anthony with 17 points while Kevin Omodt added a dozen. Nick Peterson added 10, as did Langums.

Most of the players leading the team this season were also key contributors last year.

"We invested pretty heavily in younger kids last year and for the most part that investment is starting to pay off," said Hergenrader. "We're still making mistakes, but we're learning from them and hopefully we're not making the same mistakes over and over and over again."

St. Anthony put its winning streak on the line on Monday night at home against St. Paul Washington. The game took place past the deadline for this edition of the Bulletin.

The Huskies had three games on the docket last week, including a two-game trip to Rochester. St. Anthony played in the Rotary Holiday Classic at the Rochester Civic Center. Game one was Dec. 29 against Rochester Lourdes.

"What a great team-bonding experience," Hergenrader said.

Game three of the week is the afternoon of Jan. 3 at Minnesota Transitions. 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 
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