MOORHEAD -- Dennis Green should hire Lynn Peterson as the Vikings' defensive coordinator.
The Staples-Motley boys' basketball coach formulated another brilliant defensive plan and his Cardinals carried it out to perfection as they thumped the Becker Bulldogs 56-31 in the quarterfinals of the Class AA state tournament Tuesday at Concordia College.
S-M's game plan focused on containing 6-foot-4 Becker standout Jarod Posthumus, who has signed to play football at the University of Minnesota next fall. The physical Posthumus went scoreless in the first half and had only four points through three quarters. He finished with a team-high 18 but scored most of those when the outcome had already been decided.
"Our defense has kind of been our trademark for the year," Peterson said. "I thought we played very active on defense. I thought we doubled him at the right times. When the shots went up, the other thing I thought was critical was we got a lot of rebounds and a lot of loose balls. I told the kids we had to win those battles."
S-M's 6-3 Adam Barnett won the battle against Posthumus, limiting him to 6-for-13 shooting from the field, just 1 of 6 from three-point range. Barnett said S-M defended Posthumus virtually the same way it guarded Long Prairie-Grey Eagle's 6-7 Matt Siegle in the Section 8AA championship game.
"In (the LP-GE) game we had two guys helping," said Barnett, one of four Cardinals in double figures with 11 points. "Tonight, we only had one. Brad Moore helped me out lot.
"Our goal was not to let him get the ball, as much as we could. We know he's a threat down low. When he got the ball at the wing I tried to get around to the front and Brad would help me out from the backside. We worked together, doing what we could to not let him get the ball."
Only three other Bulldogs scored. Becker shot just 24 percent from the field, only 14 percent from behind the arc.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, were spreading the ball around thanks to the steady play of point guard Jeff Brever. The senior and four-year starter scored a game-high 19 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out six assists.
"Since I'm the only returning starter I feel I should lead the team because I have the most experience," Brever said.
Bobby Burton added 11 points and Dan Lund 10 as the Cardinals' balance was too much for Becker to contain.
"If we get balanced scoring then we're playing well because our team is playing well," Peterson said. "Brever is a great player but it's easier for a team with a 6-8 kid to be more dominant than it is a team with a 5-10 kid. Jeff can keep us in a game but we need everybody's help to win a game."
Brever had plenty of help. Barnett and Burton combined to give the Cardinals a 6-0 lead in the opening two minutes. Brever provided the spark when he opened the second quarter with a three-pointer and two free throws for a 15-8 edge.
In the third, Lund's three-pointer, Brever's running jumper and Burton's layup opened up a 25-10 bulge. The closest the Bulldogs came down the stretch was when Posthumus opened the fourth with three and later made three of four free throws when he was fouled by Lund and Peterson received a technical foul.
"I guess they had told me umpteeen times to sit down," Peterson said, "but I was never on the officials once. They said I was standing up too much and I was out of the (coaches') box."
Becker 8 2 7 14 -- 31
Staples-Motley 10 8 17 20 -- 56
Mike Howard 0, Josh Hansen 5, Matt Forner 0, Jarod Posthumus 18, Greg Gosch 0, Josh Stoll 3, Brady Foster 3. Team totals: FG 11-45 (24 percent), FT 6-10 (60 percent). Overall -- Finish 18-10.
Bobby Burton 11, Brad Moore 2, Jeff Brever 19, Dan Lund 10, Adam Barnett 11, Andy Shock 2, Mike Brenna 1. Team totals: FG 16-38 (42 percent), FT 19-23 (83 percent). Overall -- 23-6. Next game -- vs. Kenyon-Wanamingo 7 p.m. Friday, Class AA semifinals, Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul.
3-point baskets -- SM 5-16 (Burton, Brever, Lund 2), B 3-21 (Posthumus, Foster, Stoll). Rebounds -- SM 29 (Barnett 5, Brever 5), B 29 (Posthumus 8). Turnovers -- SM 6, B 14. Total fouls -- SM 16, B 20. Assists -- SM 10 (Brever 6), B 4. Steals -- SM 9 (Lund 3), B 4. Blocks -- SM 2 (Barnett, Moore), B 1.
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