Vikings’ defense shuts down Awesome Blossoms

Published 11:17 pm Thursday, January 28, 2010

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Hayfield had its offensive struggles, but its defense was running full speed in a 50-26 win in Blooming Prairie Thursday.

Hayfield forced 22 turnovers and held the Awesome Blossoms (5-8 overall) to 22 percent shooting from the field while the Vikings (7-9 overall) got almost half of their points from three-point line as they hit eight treys.

“We did a good job of finding guys and making the extra pass,” Hayfield head coach Chris Pack said. “This is the kind of night where it’s nice to win because we didn’t shoot great and our defense won it for us.”

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BP’s 26 points was the least the Vikings have allowed all season and it started in the paint, where Kody Kramer, who finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks, held BP center Cooper Nelson to 14 points.

“I had to stay in front of him the whole time. He’s a big dude and he uses his body well. It’s tough to get around him,” said Kramer. “It’s always a good feeling to beat Blooming, they’re right down the road from us and they knocked us out of the playoffs last year.”

While Kramer controlled the middle, sophomore Bobbie Stephens got loose on the outside for Hayfield, hitting four threes and scoring 14 points, while grabbing five rebounds and three steals.

“Those guys help me out a lot,” Stephens said of his teammates. “They’re driving and kicking it back out to me.”

BP head coach John Bruns said he knew Stephens was a threat, but he couldn’t find the answer to stopping him.

“They really set a lot of screens for him, he moves well without the ball and he gets that shot off quick,” Bruns said. “We tried a lot of different combinations on him and we couldn’t find the right one.”

Hayfield jumped out to an 8-0 lead after Stephens and Tanner Kramer hit back-to-back threes. BP pulled to within 18-15 after a score by Nelson off a steal, but the Viking scored the last six points of the second half to take a 24-15 lead after Kody Kramer hit a hook shot and a three.

The Vikings continued their rally to open the second half when Stephens and Tanner Kramer, who had 14 points, hit back-to-back threes again to make it 32-17 with 13:10 left in the game.

BP scored just four points in the game’s last 10 minutes.

“We were pressuring and getting up on them to get them tired and have them play to our tempo,” Stephens said.

While Nelson led the Blossoms with 14 points and 11 rebounds, just two other players from BP scored. Robert Hofius and Jeffery Doerhoefer had six apiece.

“We went in with the mindset knowing (Nelson’s) going to get his 15 or 20, but we’ve got to contain the other guys,” Pack said. “When they do well, it’s the other guys that get their points. We did a good job defensively.”

Bruns is hoping is squad, which is in Class ‘A’, can learn from playing with the likes of the Vikings, who are Class ‘AA.’

“We’re still learning and playing against a good team like this will only make us better,” Bruns said. “We’re not going to see a whole lot of teams like that in Class ‘A.’”

Tyler Krekling had six points and seven assists for Hayfield.

Hayfield 24 26 — 50

BP 15 11 — 26

BP scoring: Cooper Nelson, 14; Robert Hofius, 6; Jeffery Doerhoefer, 6; rebounds: 34 (Nelson, 11); free throws: 100 percent (2-for-2); turnovers: 22

Hayfield scoring: Bobbie Stephens, 14; Tanner Kramer, 14; Kody Kramer, 13; Tyler Krekling, 6; Brady Kramer, 2; Cody Dietrich, 1; free throws: 50 percent (6-for-12); rebounds: 29 (Kody Kramer, 7); turnovers: 11