LITTLE FALLS -- In its last four games the Brainerd Warriors boys' basketball team has played respectably but has nothing to show for it.
Thursday, Brainerd shot 44 percent from the field, 82 percent at the foul line and turned the ball over a modest 14 times. But it never led and dropped a 69-59 Central Lakes Conference game to the Little Falls Flyers.
"Little Falls is a very aggressive team," Warriors coach Matt Urbanek said. "They deserve a lot of credit. They came out and played hard, they got a lot of loose balls and offensive rebounds and I thought that was the difference."
Brainerd Warriors senior forward Adian Kummet (left) lost control of the ball as he drove against Darrell Cameron of the Little Falls Flyers Thursday in Little Falls. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood
Little Falls' shooting also was the difference, making 49 percent from the field and getting at least 10 points from four different players.
After Brainerd's Adian Kummet sank a free throw 48 seconds into the game the Flyers never trailed in a contest that was tied just three times, all in the first quarter. Every time Brainerd made a run the Flyers countered with a spurt.
"I thought we played consistently on offense for four quarters," Flyers coach Kevin Jordan said. "We've been playing better offensively of late but as far as putting 32 minutes together that's maybe the best, offensively, we've played. We've played well in stretches, then we've had bad stretches where we got in a hurry and turned the ball over.
"Our goal is to have three turnovers or less in a quarter and I think (Thursday) was the first time we were close to that."
Little Falls finished with 14 turnovers.
Travis Fedor's 19 points led Little Falls. The 6-foot-2 senior was 8 of 13 from the field.
Eric Bell added 17 points, Ben Plante 15 and Darrell Cameron 10. Bell, a 6-foot junior, was 5 of 10 from the floor. Plante, a 5-10 senior, scored 10 points in the second quarter.
Ben Plante of the Little Falls Flyers (left) was guarded by Brainerd's Mike Mahlum as he looked to the basket Thursday in Little Falls. Brainerd Dispatch/Clint Wood
"We've been working on getting our perimeter shots by going inside-outside," Jordan said, "and (Thursday) I finally felt that's where we were focused offensively. I think we got a lot of inside-outside action. Our post players made good decisions on when to make their move and when to pass back out."
Kummet, who fouled out with 1:05 left, paced Brainerd with 20 points. He was 8 of 10 from the field and 4 of 6 at the line. Landon Stanfield contributed 13 points and Zach Eastman 12.
"I respect the character of this team as much as any team I've ever coached," Urbanek said, "because we've had our share of disappointments this year. But this is a team that keeps bouncing back and playing hard every single game. We've improved throughout the year even though lately that hasn't shown up on the scoreboard.
"This is a team that is a very tight-knit team. They come back to practice every day, fight hard and play hard and they're still having fun. I respect this group of players very much for how far we've come and how hard we've played, including this game.
"We're disappointed to lose a game like this. It was a very intense, emotional and physical game and we kind of laid it all out there. When you come up short it is very disappointing. We have some disappointed players in our locker room."
Flyers 69, Warriors 59
The key: Little Falls shot 49 percent from the field and had four players score at least 10 points.
Next: Brainerd at Buffalo 3 p.m. Saturday, Little Falls at Willmar 7:30 p.m. Tuesday
Brainerd 13 15 18 13 -- 59
Little Falls 17 21 14 17 -- 69
Landon Stanfield 13, Zach Eastman 12, Lucas Brick 3, Adian Kummet 20, Chris Comstock 7, Mike Mahlum 4. FG 20-45 (44 percent), FT 14-17 (82 percent). Three-point baskets: 5-17 (Eastman 2, Brick, Comstock, Stanfield). Conference -- 3-9. Overall -- 6-13.
Ben Plante 15, Eric Bell 17, Travis Fedor 19, Phillip Hochsprung 8, Darrell Cameron 10. FG 24-49 (49 percent), FT 17-27 (63 percent). Three-point baskets: 4-9 (Plante 3, Bell). Conference -- 7-5. Overall -- 10-8.
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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