The Brainerd Warriors scored nine of the first 10 points in the second half and went on to beat the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks 64-58 in non-conference boys' basketball Tuesday at Grand Rapids.
The win improved Brainerd's overall mark to 12-9 before hosting Class 3A's second-ranked Rocori Spartans on Thursday.
"We knew coming in that it was a tough place to play," Warriors coach Matt Urbanek said. "They have some nice players, some physical post players and some good shooters. It was a good effort by our kids.
"We came out and got down early by 10, then we responded well. We didn't panic. We kept running our offense, kept playing defense and hit some shots to climb back in it.
Kyle Crocker scored 17
"We came out in the second half with a lot of energy, made some big shots and played good defense. We played with the lead the entire second half."
Kyle Crocker led Brainerd with 17 points. Brett Cloutier added 15, Jed Magstadt 13 and Landon Stanfield 11.
'"Kyle and Jed played very strong on the perimeter," Urbanek said. "They gave us some balanced scoring."
Stanfield returned following a one-game absence because of a sprained ankle.
"When Landon came out I think the team breathed a sigh of relief when he was able to play," Urbanek said. "He didn't light it up but he was a calming influence on everybody. That was big for us. Brett had one of his best games of the year. It was a real good team effort all the way around."
Stanfield sat out Friday's game against St. Cloud Apollo after spraining his ankle in practice a day earlier.
Warriors 65, Grand Rapids 58
The key: Brainerd outscored the Thunderhawks 9-1 to open the second half
Overall: Brainerd 12-9
Next: Rocori at Brainerd 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
"It was a game-time decision to start him," Urbanek said. "We were going to see how his ankle was. We were not going to risk it if it was shaky. He had a strong tape job and a strong ankle brace.
"He was not as quick as usual but he was pretty smooth. It didn't have a whole lot of negative effect. It was nice to get him back out there."
Urbanek said Mitch Means and Aric Hurd buried key three-pointers in the first half to keep Brainerd close.
"Mitch and Aric didn't score a lot but they hit timely shots," Urbanek said. "They each hit threes when we were down eight or nine points to pull us back and get us close at halftime."
Brainerd 32 32 - 64
Grand Rapids 32 26 - 58
Kyle Crocker 17, Brett Cloutier 15, Jed Magstadt 13, Mitch Means 3, Mike Valesano 2, Aric Hurd 3, Landon Stanfield 11. Three-point baskets: 7 (Crocker 4, Means, Hurd, Stanfield). FG 18-48, FT 17-32.
Tryboyevich 4, Moberg 17, Gibeau 17, Kruse 10, Stoeke 1, Drobnick 7, Sjostrand 2. Three-point baskets: 5 (Gibeau 3, Kruse, Drobnick). Overall: 8-12.
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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