The Roland-Story boys’ basketball team’s shots weren’t falling at the clip the Norsemen hoped in the first half of their matchup with Southeast Valley Monday night.
But the Norsemen weren’t turning the ball over, with just three in the first half, and they shut out the Jaguars on the offensive glass.
Doing the little things led to a Roland-Story lead of 28-19 at the half, and a 69-39 Norsemen win when the final buzzer sounded.
“I told them at halftime, we didn’t shoot really well, but we gave up zero offensive rebounds, but with that happening, we still had a nine point lead,” Roland-Story coach Darrin Berggren said. “Shots started falling second half. I thought the energy even picked up on the defensive end. We turned them over a few times and were able to push that lead just by hitting shots.”
The game was still close at the half, though the Norsemen were able to build their lead by minimizing mistakes.
They raced out to a 17-point lead less than three minutes into the second half as Kade Faga and Austin Hobbs combined for 10 quick points.
Faga led the Norsemen with 21 points, hitting four of the Norsemen’s 10 3-pointers on the night.
“I think that’s just a good win for us to get under belt, and to move on with the season,” Faga said. “That was a good solid team win.”
Hobbs finished with 11 and Mitchell Shorkey with nine for the Norse, who operate with a balanced offensive attack.
Faga had 20 the last time out for the Norse (5-6), a 70-58 loss to Heart of Iowa Conference rival Gilbert. Carter Greenfield, who had 16 for Roland-Story in the loss last week, had six points Monday night.
That’s OK for Roland-Story, however.
“It’s definitely nice when someone has an off game because you know you have good teammates to rely on,” Faga said.
Only Faga averages in double figures for the Norse, at 11.9 points per game. Greenfield is next with 9.7, but the Norsemen’s balance offensively keeps opponents on their toes.
Berggren said some of the little things that doomed the Norsemen against the Tigers, the Norsemen were able to fix Monday night.
Letting the opponent gather offensive rebounds, as well as turning the ball over, were issues for the Norsemen against Gilbert, but not so against the Jaguars.
“It was great to see kids learn from one game to the next and keep getting better that way,” Berggren said. “We’ve definitely been battled tested, you look at the banners in the gyms in our conference, there’s no gimmies.”
Dating back to before the holiday break, the Norsemen have won three of their last four, and as they continue to look for the hot hand each night, the belief is there are more wins ahead.
The Norsemen, Berggren said, are looking forward to a second run through the Heart of Iowa Conference.
“Our defensive effort has been there all year,” Berggren said. “Offensively we’ve struggled, and it’s really been a different guy every night. We’ve been shooting the ball better the last four games, and a lot of that is just getting used to playing with each other.
“Offensively, we’ve made huge strides; defensively, I’m really happy where we’re at. I’m just excited to get through the conference again and see how far we’ve come.”
Roland-Story 69, Southeast Valley 39
Roland-Story 13 15 22 19 — 69
Southeast Valley 11 8 9 11 — 39
Roland-Story (69): Dylan Ihle 0 2-2 2; Kade Faga 8 1-3 21; Austin Hobbs 4 3-4 11; Jon Sansgaard 1 2-2 5; Carter Greenfield 1 4-4 6; Ben Chelsvig 2 0-0 4; Sam Skaar 1 0-0 3; Colby Gray 1 2-2 5; Zach Twedt 0 1-2 1; Nic Hansen 1 0-0 2; Mitch Shorkey 3 0-0 9
Southeast Valley (39): Carter Lane 1 1-1 3; Nolan Johnson 3 0-0 7; Niles Johnson 6 2-4 16; Jackson Housken 1 0-0 3; Keenan Ferry 2 0-0 4; Tommy Lennon 2 0-0 4; Chase Swieter 1 0-0 2