Cardinals pick up win over Crofton

RANDOLPH — At just the right time, the Randolph Cardinals are starting to find their mojo.

With a 59-49 win over Crofton last Friday, the Cardinals moved to 7-13 this season, which is a far cry from the team that struggled to win just one game in over the first month of the season.

It appears, with sub-district play set to begin Monday, that they have figured things out a bit.

“To start the year, I told the team that I thought we might have trouble scoring at times so need to focus on defense and rebounding,” Randolph head coach Jim Hixson said. “These two elements were worked on extensively by our former Coach Mark Anderson in previous years. He as well as former coach, Lyle Nannen, taught me that defense and rebounding will win ball games, and it is a philosophy that I would like to continue to foster in our program.

“The biggest surprise this year has been the dramatic improvement the team has shown. Our schedule is definitely harder at the beginning of the year however, losing our first six games of the year to later winning five of seven is pretty dramatic and the kids’ hard work had everything to do with it.”

The Cardinals wrap the campaign Friday at Hartington-Newcastle.

“They recently won our bracket in the conference tournament,” Hixson said. “We very well may play them again Monday in the first round of Sub-Districts.”

Last week, the Cardinals fell to Tri County Northeast, 52-37, and the defeat was a combination of poor shooting and turnovers according to Hixson.

“Despite practicing extensively this year to improve our shooting, as well as our ball handling to prevent turnovers, we sometimes fall victim to these problems,” Hixson said. “We have made strides throughout the year to improve in these categories, however every now and again the problematic areas rear their head again and we have problems.”

Randolph was led by Collyn Beal and Justin Haselhorst with 10 points apiece.

A few days later, Crofton came to town for Randolph’s senior night and faced a motivated Cardinals team that was led by Beal (21 points, five rebounds), Sam Korth (seven points, 10 rebounds) and Haselhorst (20 points, seven assists)

“We played one of our better games of the season,” Hixson said. “We played a Crofton team that does not have a good record but are better than the record shows. Crofton is a C2 school and plays in a bigger conference than we do. They are playing C1 and C2 schools in their conference which tends to skew their record. If they played in our conference, as they used to, they would be a .500 club.”

Randolph rode a consistent scoring attack and blew open a close game in the fourth quarter to pull away for the win.

“Our overall shooting from the field was good at 45 percent aided by multiple break away layups as a result of good defense,” Hixson said. “Our three-point shooting still needs work as we were only 2-of-15 from behind the arc. Turnovers again were a problem as we had 20 on the night, which led to our struggles in the second quarter. The deciding factor on the night was our rebounding – outrebounding them 36-19.

“It was very special to myself and the coaching staff to help send the seniors out with a win in their final game in Lyle Nannen gymnasium.”

It was quite the way to win after a 1-10 start to the season and now see the Cardinals go 6-3 since.

Cardinals leading scorer Beal said the squad needed the final week before the postseason to ensure they got the turnover bugaboo in check, especially when they give the opposition more chances to score while taking away their own opportunities to do so.

Regardless, the team is finding its winning ways.

“We are really lucky to have good coaches here at Randolph,” Beal said. “They are always wanting us to practice and watch film. They pushed us in practice and we have clicked as a team and it’s really cool to see that.

“The big change was we broke the press. That was really sweet. We came together and we broke Crofton’s 1-2-2 press. Every time they pressed us, we got it to the open person, we scored. I love it. It looked great.”

Beal noted the change came when the team stopped playing hero ball and began pressing and press breaking as a full unit of moving parts.

“It counts toward the team, not toward the player,” Beal said.

SCORING Randolph - Collyn Beal, 10; Justin Haselhorst, 10; Tom Korth, 7; Jacob Calder, 4; Tristan Mosel, 3; Sm Korth, 3.

REBOUNDS Randolph - Sam Korth, 10; Collyn Beal, 5; Tristan Mosel, 5; Justin Haselhorst, 4; Jacob Calder, 3; Tom Korth, 3; J. Harder, 2; Tyson Junck, 1; Brendan Shearer, 1.

ASSISTS Randolph - Collyn Beal, 3; Tristan Mosel, 2; Justin Haselhorst, 2;

STEALS Randolph - Collyn Beal, 4; Tristan Mosel, 4; Jacob Calder, 2.

Randolph 18 6 15 20 - 59

Crofton 13 15 9 12 - 49

SCORING Randolph - Collyn Beal, 21; Justin Haselhorst, 20; Tristan Mosel, 9; Sam Korth, 7; Jacob Calder, 2.

REBOUNDS Randolph - Sam Korth, 10; Tristan Mosel, 7; Justin Haselhorst, 7; Collyn Beal, 5; Jacob Calder, 5; Tyson Junck, 1; Tom Korth, 1.

ASSISTS Randolph - Justin Haselhorst, 7; Collyn Beal, 4; Tristan Mosel, 2; Sam Korth, 1.

STEALS Randolph - Justin Haselhorst, 4; Collyn Beal, 2; Sam Korth, 2; Tyson Junck, 1; Jacob Calder, 1; Tristan Mosel, 1.

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