By Gary Larson
Mille Lacs County Times
Faith Christian School won its first game, then fell twice at the Christian Athletic League Boys Basketball Tournament last week at Mankato.
The Saints stopped Immanuel Lutheran 86-80 Thursday, March 1. On Friday, Mountain Lake Christian, the top-seeded team and eventual tournament champion, stopped FCS 69-34.
The moved the Saints to the third-pace game where they lost to area rival Cambridge Christian School 71-56.
“We were happy to place fourth which was the highest finish ever for any Faith Christian School boys team,” said Coach Don Andrews. “It is one place higher than last season and it will be motivation for us to continue to pursue the upper tier of talented teams in the CAL in the future.
“We played well at times against some very good teams.”
Against Immanuel, Faith Christian handled the Trojans’ full-court pressure well early on and took a 37-23 halftime lead. Faith Christian pushed its lead to 58-28 five minutes into the second half but Immanuel didn’t quit and stormed back.
Faith Christian ran into big time foul trouble in the second half and lost four starters as it finished the game with just four players on the court. Immanuel lost three players via fouls.
“While we bent, we never really broke, even with four players fouled out and just four on the floor,” said Andrews. “As Immanuel’s comeback mounted we kept watching the clock, trying to will it to go faster. But, in the end we made our free throws and held on.”
Sophomore guard Trevor Roelofs had a career-high 36 points to lead the Saints. He sank four of five three-point shots and was 7-9 overall from the floor. And, he made 10 of 12 free throws.
Junior center Micah Andrews re-tied his school record of 21 rebounds in a game. He scored 14 points and had 11 assists for a rare triple-double.
Junior forward Paul Selin had 18 points and 13 rebounds while senior guard Jed Fry had eight points.
The Saints shot 53.1 percent from the field.
Immanuel had edged FCS by one point earlier this season at Mankato.
Mountain Lake took a 9-0 lead and held a 38-17 halftime margin before outscoring the Saints 31-17 in the second half.
“Mountain Lake enjoyed a bye in the first round and was well-rested going into our game,” said coach Andrews. “We had lost to them by just 12 points a week earlier and felt we could duplicate that performance. But, Mountain Lake had a different idea and took charge right away.”
Roelofs scored 15 points while Selin had 10. Junior guard Mitchell Wolbert had six assists and four steals while Micah Andrews had five points and 10 rebounds.
Mountain Lake junior center Josiah Stoesz, who scored seven points against FCS a week ago, led Mountain Lake with 30 points.
Cambridge Christian, which lost in the semifinals in overtime to Rochester Area Home School, moved to a 28-8 lead before FCS battled back in the third-place game.
The Saints closed the gap to 32-22 at halftime and pulled to within 36-31 in the second half before the Warriors pulled away behind junior center Peter Maring, who had 18 second-half points.
Andrews had 12 points and 15 rebounds while Selin had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Roelofs scored 12 points and had six assists and four steals.
The Saints finished with a 17-14 record.
Mountain Lake tipped Rochester 36-35 in the title game as Stoesz made two free throws in the closing seconds.