Basketball: Royal boys repel Tech 68-60, face Bemidji in semi’s

Austin Barbeln scored on a breakaway for Rogers. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)


by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

A quick 10-0 deficit did not faze the Rogers Royals in their section opener against St. Cloud Tech as they took control for a 68-60 victory in first round of Section 8AAAA at home Tuesday evening.

Josh Turnquist led with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots as the Royals won their first-ever Class 4A playoff game.

Josh Turnquist soared for two of his 20 points. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)

“Tech came out on fire,” said Rogers coach Joe Belka. “They hit two 3-pointers right away and scored a couple times in transition and we were behind 10-2 … and then 12-2. But we didn’t panic. We chipped away and were tied at halftime, and in the second half, we started to use our size to our advantage.”

Along with the 6-7 Turnquist’s stellar game, which included a pair of 3-point plays as the Royals pulled away, the Royals got 14 points and 11 rebounds from 6-8 Michael Schreiber, Meanwhile 6-3 forward Nick Runge hit four 3-points for 12 points of the bench and 6-1 forward Austin Barbeln chipped in 9 points and 5 rebounds.

“Nick gave us some great minutes off the bench,” said Belka, “and Gunnar Bloom (backup freshman point guard) did a good job against their press. We had a good team effort.”

Rogers (19-8), the No. 2 seed, was the only higher seed win win in the quarterfinals expected to be wide-open, with all eight teams having winning records and none of them ranked in the state.

Top-seeded Buffalo lost to No. 8 Brainerd in double overtime 69-67, No. 3 Elk River was taken down by Bemidji 67-64, and No. 4 St. Michael-Albertville was nipped by Moorhead 56-55.

On Saturday, Moorhead (16-9) takes on Brainerd (14-12) at 10 a.m. followed by Rogers vs. Bemidji (14-12) at St. Cloud State in the semifinals.

Rogers caught up at 33-33 by halftime, and led by 15 with three minutes left, before a late surge by Tech closed the gap.

Andy Foley drilled 20 points for Tech (15-12) and Alex Matchinski added 15.

Rogers scoring – Michael Schreiber 14, Josh Turnquist 20, Nick Runge 12, Austin Barbeln 9, Gunnar Bloom 2, Garrett Hol 2, Nate Roehl 3, Sam Spilles 6