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Boys basketball: Jaguars rip competition

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When the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa boys basketball team lost to Springfield in the final game of the Class A state tournament, it was the Jaguars' first loss of the 2010-11 season.

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They are looking to do one better this time around.

The Jaguars are currently undefeated -- 2-0 and first place in the Central Minnesota Conference and 9-0 overall -- and ranked No. 1 in Class A.

And they haven't just been winning -- they have been pummeling opponents. They've scored over 70 points six times and over 80 twice, including a 74-28 win over Paynesville on Dec. 15 and a 73-44 win over Minnewaska on Dec. 22. The only time they won a game by fewer than 10 points was a 59-50 victory over Sauk Centre on Dec. 13.

Dating back to the beginning of last season, the Jaguars have played 41 games -- 33 last season and nine this season -- and the lone loss was in the state tournament final.

BBE head coach David Montbriand said the 70-58 loss to Springfield was a combination of factors, just one of which was shooting 2-for-27 from the 3-point line.

"We just had trouble scoring near the basket," he said. "We could normally get some rebounds and put them back in. (Springfield's) Tyler Marz kept us from getting the putbacks we usually get. (It was) between that and being stone cold shooting outside."

Montbriand said it wasn't one of those losses that gnaws at him.

"To go undefeated and get to the state finals was really an accomplishment," he said. "We just got beat by a team that played better that game."

Sophomore guard Brian Goodwin, who had 5 points in the Springfield game, said it was a tough loss but that they came back this year ready to go.

"It's not a very good feeling to lose that game, and I don't want to feel that again," he said.

This year's team is led by Brian and older brother Connor, a senior center, who are the two leading scorers for the Jaguars.

Brian, with 16.1 points per game, is shooting 53-for-99 (.535) overall and has the best percentage on 3-pointers (10-for-24, .417) of the Jaguars' starting five. He also leads the Jaguars with 54 assists.

Connor has 15.4 ppg (57-for-99, .576) on the season and leads the team with 99 total rebounds.

Connor said the team's strengths have changed since last year, but they could be just as good.

"We're kind of a different team this year," he said. "Last year we had more post players and this year we have more perimeter guys. I think our outside shooting has definitely been better than last year."

Montbriand had high praise for the pair, saying Connor is the Jaguars' rock and most consistent player and that Brian plays a great all-around game.

"(Brian) is an excellent shooter, runs the point really well and is a great passer," Montbriand said.

Along with the Goodwins, the Jaguars' starting five includes senior guard Kirby Montbriand (10.8 points per game, 5.2 rebounds per game), sophomore center Billy Borgerding (11.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg) and sophomore guard James Kuefler (7.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg).

Connor Goodwin said the team has a lot of height this year and everybody on the team has great basketball smarts.

"We have a pretty good team that can get ourselves back (to the state tournament)," he said.

The Jaguars are up next 7:30 p.m. tonight at home against Rockford (1-1, 3-8) in a Central Minnesota Conference game.

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Ben Brewster

Ben Brewster covers the Willmar Stingers and other area sports, as well as laying out the daily sports section cover for the West Central Tribune. Follow him on Twitter @benbrewster.

(320) 214-4332
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