by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Trevor Morlock poured in 27 points as the Rogers Royals beat conference arch-rival St. Michael-Albertville 68-65 in yet another overtime game Friday evening at STMA.
Morlock scored six of his 27 in overtime and three teammates combined to make 5 of 6 free shots down the stretch as Rogers improved to 2-2 in conference overtime games.
“That’s what we were telling the kids when we were going into overtime, that we’ve been in this situation more than we want to be,” said coach Joe Belka.
He added: “Any time you play St. Michael you know it’s going to be this kind of a ball game. They are our biggest rival in the conference. You could tell by how big the crowd was.”
The Royals are now one of three teams with two losses each, along with STMA and Big Lake, in the Mississippi 8, trailing 7-0 Buffalo.
It was a breakout game for Morlock, averaging just 11 points this year after hitting 14 ppg as a junior. The 6-4 senior forward scored a career high, beating his previous best of 24 last year. He made four 3-pointers, seven two’s, and struggled only at the line, 1-for-5.
“He’s one player who’s never going to be outworked,” said Belka. “He has spent a lot of time in the gym working on his shot to get over this slump.”
The Royals also got 14 points from 6-6 senior Rory Donovan and 12 from 6-9 junior Michael Schreiber. Those post points did not come easy as the smaller Knights did a great job collapsing on posts, bottling them up and forcing turnovers.
Michael Wiese nailed seven 3-point shots for STMA (5-2, 11-6) as the 6-1 guard totaled 27 points. High-flying 6-3 guard Joe Carpenter added 19 points and 10 rebounds.
The Royals led 51-43 before the Knights went on a 10-2 run to knot the score 53-53 on a driving 3-point play by Jared Moran with 2:12 left.
Each team muffed two chances to go ahead in the time remaining and regulation ended 53-53. The Knights had the ball with 1:10 left and tried to go for one shot but Wiese dribbled on the out-of-bounds line when caged by two Royals with 13 seconds left. Rogers shoveled the ball inside to Donovan but the Knights knocked it away from him.
In the overtime, Morlank sank a 3-pointer from the wing, a layup on a baseline drive and one of two free shots, opening a 63-58 lead with :44 left.
Wiese drilled his final 3-pointer and STMA was within 63-61 with :29 left. But the Knights had to foul, and the Royals were able to stay in front at the free throw line on two by R.J. Dean, two more by Donovan and one of two by Schreiber.
Rogers was a modest 11-for-17 overall “but we made the ones we really needed,” said Belka.
Rogers (11-4 overall) has finished the first half of conference play 6-2. They’ll host Irondale on Tuesday in a non-conference game.
Rogers 68, STMA 65
Rogers ……. 30 23 15 — 68
STMA ……… 22 31 12 — 65
Rogers — Trevor Morlok 27, Bjorn Bloom 2, Trevor Berkley 6, Rory Donovan 14, Josh Turnquist 3, RJ Dean 4, Michael Schreiber 12
STMA — Michael Wiese 26, Jared Moran 9, Dain Krutzig 4, Joe Carpenter 19, Taylor Burslie 6