Cardinals grind out a win in Grand Meadow

Published 9:49 pm Friday, January 7, 2022

GRAND MEADOW – The LeRoy-Ostrander boys basketball team dominated the paint down the stretch as it was able to hold off Grand Meadow by a score of 56-52 in GM Friday night.

LO senior Tanner Olson put up 18 points and six rebounds and senior Gavin Sweeney added 11 points and nine rebounds to dominate inside.

“Their ability to get the ball inside and score and control on the defensive side was awesome. Tonight was a big test. We won in overtime in Lanesboro last night and to win tonight in Grand Meadow was huge,” LO head coach Ryan Evans said. “The early part of the season was rough (after winning the state football title), but the Christmas break came at the right time and you’re starting to see what they’re capable of.”

Roman Warmka gave the Superlarks (5-6 overall) a chance when he knocked down a baseline three to bring GM within 54-52 with 30 seconds left, but the Cardinals went up 55-52 Levi Royston pulled down an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and made one of two free throws with 20 seconds left.

There were two ties and two lead changes for a four-minute spurt late in the game, before the Cardinals (5-2 overall) went up 52-49 when Gavin Sweeney scored off a pick and roll on an assist from Layne Bird with 1:40 left in the game.

Sweeney has come a long way in a short time as he was wrestling up until he was an eighth grader. He spent his freshman year without a winter sport and he was injured during his sophomore year. Last season was his first real basketball action.

“It helps having size. I’m still learning techniques, but it’s nice having Tanner there so he can teach me,” Sweeney said. “I kind of grew out of wrestling a little bit, but I still have respect for it. Once I started trying to dribble a basketball, I fell in love with it.”

The Superlarks seized a 44-38 lead with eight minutes left in the game after Jace Kraft hit a pair of wing three-pointers that came off of dribble penetration from Taylor Glynn. However, LO came back to tie it at 44 when Olson scored a pair of inside buckets and Sweeney scored on a put-back.

The first half went back and forth as neither team led by more than four. GM took an early 11-7 lead on a put-back by Roman Warmka and the Cardinals went up 21-18 on a three-pointer by Tanner Olson. The game was knotted at 32 early in the second half after GM’s Taylor Glynn sank a three from the wing.

Olson found his shot late in the game after starting slowly.

“I was trying to rotate the ball early on and I wasn’t trying to score right away,” Olson said. “Once I started going, my confidence got going. I just started using that fadeaway recently.”

Kraft finished with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

LO 26 30  – 56

GM 27 25  – 52

GM scoring: Roman Warmka, 15; Jace Kraft, 15; Taylor Glynn, 13; Jacob Kerrins, 4; Carter Mueller, 3; Connor Monson, 2; rebounds: 27 (Kraft, 7); free throws: 65 percent (9-for-14); turnovers: 11 

LO scoring: Tanner Olson, 18; Gavin Sweeney, 11; Levi Royston, 10; Chase Johnson, 10; Layne Bird, 6; Tristan Lewison, 1; rebounds: 35 (Sweeney, 9); free throws: 38 percent (6-for-16); turnovers: 15