Cardinals drop evenly-matched Border Battle game
The Prescott Cardinals boys basketball team is still undefeated against Wisconsin competitors. However, the 14-2 Prescott team dropped its second loss of the season to another Minnesota team on Saturday, Jan. 27 at the 12th Annual Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Border Battle held at Stevens Point Area Senior High.
Prescott lost 84-77 to the Lake City Tigers (14-3) in a game that saw hot shooting hands from both talented teams.
The Cardinals shot 44.8 percent from behind the three-point arc in their seven-point loss compared to the Tigers who shot 55.6 percent from deep.
The Tigers put up the first points of the game with a three-pointer from Reid Gastner, which was the first of eight first-half threes for the Lake City team. The Cardinals never pulled ahead in the first half, but came back from a 19-9 deficit to get within two at halftime.
The Cardinals' comeback was led by Peter Brookshaw who had 15 points at the break. Brookshaw's 15 were matched by Lake City's Marc Kjos who had five of his team's eight first-half threes. Both teams' point guards put on a shooting clinic for the enjoyment of the Border Battle spectators.
Brookshaw finished with 34 points and is now averaging 28.6 points per game in his senior season. He claimed a double-double with 11 assists added to his 34 points. Brookshaw continues to put on a show for Prescott fans every night, which makes it easy for people to take his greatness for granted.
Head coach Nick Johnson wants to make sure Brookshaw receives the credit he deserves for his superior senior year.
"[Petey] is just having an unbelievable year," Johnson said. "I don't think he's getting enough credit for the year he's having. We've gone up against kids who are going to play Division 1 next year, and we feel like he can compete with any of those kids. We definitely think he is a top-five player in the state right now with the way he's playing."
Brookshaw held his own with Kjos who was the leader of the Tigers in the first half, but it was Lake City's Zach Bremer who stepped up in the second half after a scoreless first half. The 6'6" senior finished the game with 12 points and gave the Cardinals trouble on the boards with his inside presence.
The Tigers took a 64-57 lead midway through the second half, but the Cardinals fought back with two Brookshaw baskets (one of which was created by a Joe Roosen steal), and a Parker Nielsen three gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game with 8:28 left on the clock. The Tigers regained the lead with a three from Gassner and a two-pointer from Bremer, but threes from Brian Tayson and Brookshaw kept the Cardinals neck-and-neck with the Minnesota team until the final two minutes of play. But despite the Cardinals' relentless effort and Brookshaw's 34 points, the Tigers used a 6-2 late run to force the Cardinals to send them to the free-throw line where Gassner closed things out at 84-77 with two made FTs.
Johnson thought his team suffered some breakdowns in the evenly-matched game, but gave credit to Lake City and its high-caliber shooting ability, which tested Prescott's perimeter defense.
"Every time that we had a breakdown or we did something wrong they would take advantage of it," Johnson said, "which is just a sign of how good of a team they are."
Johnson's team stood their ground with Lake City every time the Tigers pulled away with a run of their own, and Prescott had a lot to be proud of after their Border Battle performance.
"I was really proud of our kids. They played very hard, we just couldn't pull it off," Johnson said.
The Tigers committed 11 turnovers to Prescott's eight, but outrebounded the Cards 35-31.
"We just have to watch the film, because there were a couple of loose balls and a couple of things where if we got those possessions I thought the game could have gone either way," Johnson said. "But [Lake City] was very good.
"We had good production from everyone, and I think that's why we're playing so well as a team," Johnson said. "We'll just learn from [the loss]. We talked about after the game how being invited to [the Border Battle] is a credit to our kids, and it's a humbling thing to be invited two years in a row. We're very honored of that."
The Cardinals have six games left in their regular season, all of which are against Middle Border Conference teams. Five of the six final games are home games for the Cardinals, which they'll take advantage of considering the challenging away schedule they've faced in the 2017-18 season.
Prescott is back at home on Friday, Feb. 2 where they'll host the Somerset Spartans (4-10, 1-5).
Scoring for the Cardinals: Brookshaw 34; Nielsen 16; Westy Bartsch, Tayson 8; Roosen 5; Jacob Doffing 4; Dylan Rieken 2.
Scoring for the Tigers: Kjos 24, Gastner 22, Nathan Heise 21, Bremer 12, Jake Wohlers 5.