Clinton County

Stanley-Boyd boys pull away from Athens



STANLEY — As the regular season draws to a close, the Stanley-Boyd boys basketball team has reason to be optimistic.

The Orioles took down Athens in a hard-fought nonconference matchup 51-35 on Monday evening.

Stanley-Boyd has been up and down throughout the season, but looks to be getting healthy at the right time.

Brandon Milas led the Orioles (9-12) with a season-high 17 points, including four of his team’s six 3-pointers. Stanley-Boyd took the lead for good on the Bluejays (4-17) early in the second quarter thanks to eight consecutive points by Milas, but had their hands full with the equally-as-physical Athens squad.

“When we moved the ball well, worked off our posts, it really gave us some good looks at the basket,” Stanley-Boyd coach Tom Hause said.

Stanley-Boyd led by as many as seven points in the first half before the Bluejays closed the gap to one after a 3-pointer by Tony Thurs made it 20-19 at the 2:24 mark. Clint Warminski added four points in the final 2:02 of the half to help the Orioles get some of their breathing room back and led 24-19 at halftime.

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“The big thing with us in the first half was turnovers,” Athens coach John Schreiner said. “We had 15 turnovers in the first half, you can’t win a game like that.”

The Orioles used a run starting at the end of the third quarter to stretch their lead to double digits. Milas hit a 3-pointer near the end of the third quarter and 40 seconds into the fourth quarter to put his team up by double digits. Zak Ingersoll followed with a pair of baskets to extend the Stanley-Boyd advantage to 44-32 and the Bluejays wouldn’t get any closer than that as the Orioles defense limited Athens to six points in the final quarter, two 3-pointers by Thurs.

The Orioles came into Monday’s game averaging two-and-a-half 3s per game, but drilled six against the Bluejays. That performance comes three days after hitting a season-high seven 3-pointers against Osseo-Fairchild and is the result of an improved inside-out offensive game as the team has gotten healthier.

“It helps and that’s something I’ve talked to the guys about the whole year, if we can put pressure on the perimeter that opens up the inside also,” Hause said. “The last two games we’ve been able to do that and get some of those teams that are sagging inside to extend out.”

Thurs led the Bluejays with 10 points. The game was physical throughout, not surprising coming from two schools that also host standout football programs.

“We don’t mind playing physical basketball,” Schreiner said. “Basketball is a contact sport. You gotta seal, you’ve got to box out, you’ve got to post up. That’s what you need to do, draw the foul. But you’ve also got to hit some shots from the outside and not turn the ball over.”

Alex Lisiecki scored nine points while Brady Booth added seven.

The victory is Stanley-Boyd’s second in a row with the regular season concluding with the Cloverbelt Crossover on Thursday where Stanley-Boyd will host an opponent to be determined. The Orioles are a No. 2 seed in their Division 4 regional and get a bye to the regional semifinal round, where they will host the winner of the Cadott/Osseo-Fairchild playoff opener on Friday, March 6.

The team has had some injuries throughout the year, but is getting healthier and could be poised to make some postseason noise. The Orioles have one more game and a week and a half of practice to get as in sync as they can before hitting the floor for the playoffs.

“In having these games to let those guys work together, that’s really important this time of the year,” Hause said.

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