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Tribune photo by Tom Larson
Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City senior Taylor Larson fights for the ball with Rushford-Peterson’s Seth Thompson during their Class A state tournament quarterfinal game on Thursday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Tribune photo by Tom Larson Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City senior Taylor Larson fights for the ball with Rushford-Peterson’s Seth Thompson during their Class A state tournament quarterfinal game on Thursday at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.

Class A Basketball: Trojans' pressure derails ACGC

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sports Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

MINNEAPOLIS — Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City head coach Terry Miller was confident his Falcons could play nose-to-nose with Rushford-Peterson in the Class A State Boys Basketball Tournament quarterfinals.

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The one thing the Falcons could not afford, however, was the turn the ball over.

Unfortunately for the Falcons, the Trojans are experts at making teams do just that.

ACGC and R-P have similar shooting statistics and the Falcons won on the boards, 33-22. But the Trojans forced 21 Falcons turnovers, turning many of them into instant points that were the difference in a 71-63 win Thursday at Williams Arena.

“We battled back but that took a lot of energy,” Miller said. “Their pressure got to us at times. We made some unforced turnovers, especially in the second half, that led to easy baskets and we knew that’s what we had to avoid.”

The Falcons finished their season 21-8, and in the state tournament for the first time.

ACGC never led and was constantly harassed by R-P’s press, in the front court and back, and the Trojans were hot, putting ACGC in a 9-0 hole by hitting their first three 3-pointers.

Still, the Falcons hung around, keeping the lead in the five to 10-point range much of the second half.

But when they appeared ready to close the gap even more, R-P picked up a steal up top and converted a fastbreak bucket, or the patiently worked the ball until they generated an easy layup.

The Trojans scored 23 points off Falcons turnovers.

By the time ACGC’s leading scorer Taylor Larson fouled out with 33 seconds left, R-P had a nine-point edge and the Trojans were slapping hands in celebration.

“We knew we’d turn the ball over,” Miller said. “You can’t face pressure like that they whole game and not turn it over. We just needed to limit them.”

R-P hounded the 22-point scorer Larson but he still finished with 15 points. But Miller was particularly pleased with the Falcons’ play in the post.

Colton Minnick hit 6 of 10 shots and had 13 points and 6 rebounds, and Gabe Eisenbacher, a 6-foot-4 freshman, came off the bench to lead the Falcons with 18 points and 7 rebounds.

“His rebounding, with offensive putbacks, carried us at times,” Miller said of Eisenbacher. “We just kind of rode him.”

In the end, however, the Falcons couldn’t sustain an attack against Class A’s No. 3 seed.

“When you play five guys as much as I do,” Miller said, “and the lead gets to nine with less than five minutes, you have to try reach in, press and play fullcourt. It’s tough.”

Rushford-Peterson 71, ACGC 63

ACGC (21-8)        31 32 — 63

Rushford-Peterson (30-1)              34 37 — 71

ATWATER-COSMOS-GROVE CITY – 24-47 FG (3-18 3-pt); 12-16 FT; 33 rebounds; 18 fouls … Shooting (fgm-fga ftm-fta points): Brody Larson 4-6 0-0 8, Taylor Larson 6-15 0-0 15, David Kinzler 1-8 5-6 7, Jaden Amdahl 0-0 0-0 0, Colton Minnick 6-10 1-2 13, Michael Larson 0-0 0-0 0, Erik Cihlar 0-0 0-0 0, Adam Johnson 0-0 2-2 2, Gabe Eisenbacher 7-8 4-6 18 … 3-point shots: T. Larson 3-12, B. Larson 0-1, Kinzler 0-5 … Rebound leaders: B. Larson 7, Eisenbacher 7, Minnick 6, T. Larson 3, Johnson 3 … Assist leaders: B. Larson 7 … Steal leaders: Minnick 2

RUSHFORD-PETERSON – 27-51 FG (8-20 3-pt); 9-20 FT; 22 rebounds; 16 fouls … Shooting (fgm-fga ftm-fta points): Alex Vix 2-6 3-4 8, Charlie Krambeer 2-7 0-1 6, Austin O’Hare 5-10 0-0 14, Cole Kingsley 8-11 1-3 18, Jorli Hauge 5-7 3-6 13, Seth Thompson 3-7 2-6 8, Jacob Merchlewitz 0-0 0-0 0, Noah Carlson 2-3 0-0 4 … 3-point shots: O’Hare 4-7, Krambeer 2-7, Vix 1-3, Kingsley 1-2, Hauge 0-1 … Rebound leaders: Hauge 10, Kingsley 4 … Assist leaders: O’Hare 5, Vix 4, Kingsley 3, Hauge 3 … Steal leaders: Hauge 3, Vix 2, O’Hare 2, Kingsley 2, Thompson 2, Carlson 2

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