TRUMAN - Opponents of Truman/Martin Luther know BluejayKnights forward Sam Geistfeld and center Alex Weihe can literally be double-double trouble to defend.
Unfortunately for Alden-Conger, the visiting Knights also had to contend with sophomore forward Jackson Maloney coming off the hometown team's bench during Saturday's basketball playoff clash in Truman.
Maloney delivered 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting, while Geistfeld and Weihe produced double-double performances to power the BluejayKnights to a 63-56 comeback victory over the Knights during a Section 2A, South Sub-Section play-in game.
ALTERED SHOT — Truman/Martin Luther defender Jackson Maloney (5) makes Alden-Conger guard Colton Opsahl (1) alter his shot during opening-round Section 2A, South Sub-Section basketball action Saturday in Truman. Truman/Martin Luther’s Aaron Neumann (23) and Adam Neumann (13) look on. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
No. 7-seeded Truman/ Martin Luther (12-14) advances to face No. 2-seeded United South Central (20-4) at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in the sub-section quarterfinals in Wells. The Rebels earned a first-round bye.
No. 10-seeded Alden-Conger ended its season with a 7-18 record.
"Jackson really did a nice job off the bench for us today," said TML head coach Brian Borkenhagen. "He definitely gave us an additional option inside."
The 6-foot-1 Maloney's dozen points on efficient field-goal shooting, along with three pivotal steals, helped the BluejayKnights offset the Knights' combined 19-point performance from Jordan Hallman, Colton Opsahl and Brady Neel off the bench.
"We had good balanced scoring in the first half, including 12 points off the bench," said Alden-Conger assistant coach Matt Hallman. "We even had four different guys make 3-pointers, so that caused some defensive problems for them (the BluejayKnights) during the first half, too."
The BluejayKnights, however, stayed within striking distance during the opening 18 minutes as the 6-3 Weihe connected on 7 of 11 field goals inside the paint for 14 of his 18 points on the game.
While Geistfeld - who finished with game-highs of 25 points and 15 rebounds - was limited to six first-half points, the 6-3 senior playmaker displayed his multi-tasking skills by matching Weihe by pulling down five boards, in addition to distributing three of his four assists on the game.
Ty Lerum nailed his second 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining in the opening half to extend Alden-Conger's lead to seven, but Weihe and Geistfeld executed a perfect high-low post play to narrow TML's deficit to 35-30 just 2 seconds before intermission.
Geistfeld then warmed up the Truman nets to trigger the BluejayKnights' comeback during the early stages of the second half. Geistfeld hit a runner in traffic, banked home a putback and drained a 3-pointer to offset Alden-Conger guard Eli Hallman's pair of trifectas.
Maloney later tossed in a baseline leaner before Adam Neumann fired a long lead pass to a breaking Colton Greiner for a layup to knot the game at 41-all with 12:21 remaining in regulation.
"We had tried a variety of zone defenses against them earlier in the game and none of them worked that well," said Borkenhagen. "So, we decided to apply a little token pressure by giving them a different look (with a midcourt zone trap), and it took them out of their (offensive) rhythm."
Geistfeld's putback basket and Weihe's lay-in off Geistfeld's alley-oop pass off a steal-turned-fastbreak opportunity helped TML knot the game at 51-all with 3:41 to go.
Adam Neumann delivered one of his game-best seven assists to Weihe for a tough-angled reverse lay-in before Colton Opsahl countered with a runner down the lane for the playoff game's last tie at 53-all.
Geistfeld then hit a drive in the lane and sank eight free throws to single-handedly outscore Alden-Conger 10-3 during the contest's final 2 minutes.
Geistfeld added four steals and four assists to his 25-point, 15-rebound performance, while Weihe finished with 18 points and 10 boards.
Eli Hallman generated 17 points, six rebounds and three assists to help pace Alden-Conger, Opsahl scored nine points off the bench, Lerum finished with eight points, while Jacob Wallin supplied six points and a team-best nine rebounds.
Geistfeld 8-13 8-12 25, Aaron Neumann 1-4 0-2 2, Weihe 9-16 0-4 18, Adam Neumann 0-4 2-2 2, Greiner 2-5 0-0 4, Wiederhoeft 0-0 0-0 0, Maloney 6-8 0-0 12, Brummond 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-51 10-20 63.
Lerum 3-8 0-0 8, Erickson 3-5 0-0 6, Wallin 3-7 0-2 6, E. Hallman 5-12 3-3 17, Bute 0-5 0-0 0, J. Hallman 1-3 2-2 4, Neel 2-8 0-0 6, Opsahl 4-8 0-2 9. Totals 21-56 5-9 56.
3-pointers: Alden-Conger 9-25 (E. Hallman 4-9, Lerum 2-7, Neel 2-6, Opsahl 1-3); Truman/Martin Luther 1-11 (Geistfeld 1-4, Adam Neumann 0-3, Weihe 0-2, Greiner 0-2). Fouled out: Aaron Neumann and Erickson. Rebounds: TML 32 (Geistfeld 15, Weihe 10); A-C 28 (Wallin 9). Assists: A-C 15 (Erickson 4); TML 14 (Adam Neumann 7, Geistfeld 4). Steals: TML 11 (Geistfeld 4, Maloney 3); A-C 1.
Mountain Lake Area 80, Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 63 - Carter Kirk and Cody Klassen each produced double-doubles to power the Class A, No. 4-ranked Wolverines to an 80-63 comeback victory over the Indians on Saturday in Mountain Lake.
Kirk generated game-highs of 31 points and 15 rebounds to complement seven assists, while Klassen poured in 28 points to go with 10 rebounds for MLA.
Andrew Hempeck neared triple-double territory by collecting eight points, eight rebounds and a game-best eight assists for the Wolverines, who rallied from a 37-35 halftime deficit.
John Brandl netted 18 points to top St. Mary's, while teammates Mike Hirsch and Payton Adams each scored 13.
Mountain Lake Area (22-2), the No. 1 seed in the Section 2A, South Sub-Section playoffs, hosts No. 8-seeded Southwestern United at 7 p.m. Tuesday night in sub-section quarterfinal action in Mountain Lake.
Sleepy Eye St. Mary's (14-8), the No. 3 seed in the Section 2A, North Sub-Section playoffs, hosts No. 6-seeded Minnesota Valley Lutheran at 7 p.m. Tuesday.