LITTLE FALLS -- Break out the brooms.
The Little Falls boys' basketball team followed the lead of the Flyer girls' team and defeated the Staples-Motley Cardinals 53-37 Tuesday, making it a clean sweep for the Flyers Tuesday.
The Flyers unleashed a menacing defense that held S-M under 40 points and never gave the Cardinals good looks at the basket. Little Falls also played smart by staying out of foul trouble, as evidenced by the Cardinals' paltry four trips to the charity stripe.
Leading the Flyers were seniors Noah Czech and Renzo Ferrari with 12 points apiece.
"I was really pleased with the way the kids approached the game tonight," Flyers coach Kevin Jordan said. "We were ready to play and determined before we took the floor. The guys went out there and did exactly what we needed them to do."
The play by both teams in the first quarter made it look as if the large crowd would be in for a treat as Little Falls built a 13-8 lead.
But the Flyers made their move in the second quarter as their defense dominated S-M and held the Cardinals to six points. Little Falls, which scored 15 points in the quarter, was paced by Ferrari's six points and the deft, outside shooting of sophomore Jon Schulz who scored five.
Down by 14 at the start of the second half, the Cardinals came out hot behind the shooting of guard Bobby Burton and forward Danny Lund, who finished the game with 17 and 11 points, as they were able to cut the Flyers' lead to 28-23. That, however, would be as close as the Cardinals would get.
Little Falls showed its poise as it came back and pushed its lead back to 13 by the end of the quarter.
"The players did a good job of playing defense on Lund and Burton," Jordan said. "They also did a good job of keeping (Adam) Barnett off the boards.
"Defensively, we did a good job of taking away their strengths. Offensively, we took care of the ball, got some rhythm going and that was the difference."
In the final quarter and leading by nine, Little Falls busted out on an 8-0 run to go up by 19 points, its largest lead of the night. Czech and Ferrari scored six of the eight points in the run that effectively put the game out of the Cardinals' reach.
That run was marked by scrappy defense and an opportunistic offense that has been the Flyers' trademark.
"We live by our defense," Czech said. "We want to get every loose ball every time and get good pressure on the ball."
Jordan couldn't agree more that his team is scrappy and not afraid of getting a few bumps and bruises from hitting the floor.
"These kids do a good job of going out there and doing the little things," Jordan said. "We pride ourselves that we don't want the other team working harder than we do."
Another area where Jordan was pleased was the play of his bench that came in and scored 24 points. Besides Ferrari's 12 points, Schulz chipped in eight and forward Blake Smith four.
"We had great contributions from every one that went into the game tonight," Jordan said.
Staples-Motley 8 6 12 11 -- 37
Little Falls 13 15 11 14 -- 53
Adam Barnett 4, Bobby Burton 17, Danny Lund 11, Josh Smith 2, Cole Buscho 3. Team totals: FG 16-34 (47 percent), FT 3-4 (75 percent). Overall 7-6. Next: at Park Rapids Fri.
LITTLE FALLS (53)
Tony Golden 4, Noah Czech 12, Mark Kasella 2, Mark Hartwig 2, Paul Hochsprung 9, Renzo Ferrari 12, Blake Smith 4, Jon Schulz 8. Team totals: FG 19-36 (52 percent), FT 12-15 (80 percent). Overall -- 7-6. Next: at Willmar Friday
3 pt. goals -- LF 3-4 (Schulz 2), S-M 2-4. Total fouls -- LF 11, S-M 17.
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