Sting get first win in home opener

Sports Reporter

by Eric Oslund

Sports Reporter

The Spectrum Sting boys basketball team played in their home opener on Monday, Dec. 5, against the International School of Minnesota Huskies. They came into the game looking to rebound from a tough loss suffered in their first game of the season.

The team traveled to Foley on Thursday, Dec. 1, and found themselves down by as much as 14 points at one point in the game. They were able to claw their way back into the game, tying it up late, but it wasn’t enough. The Sting ended up falling 53-58 to open the season, a heartbreaking loss.

Senior forward Kelton Sundstrom helped lead the Sting to a 58-45 win in their home opener. (Photo by Eric Oslund)
Senior forward Kelton Sundstrom led the team in scoring with 19 points during their home opener. (Photo by Eric Oslund)

“The first game was a little frustrating considering we had a comeback,” Sting head coach Marc Prepeluh said after Monday’s win. “We were down 14 at half and to come back, tie it up and in the end lose was tough for us. I’m glad we rebounded and were able to pull this one out here today.”

The Sting seemed to be the better team for a majority of the game, but you would not have noticed that if you were just watching the scoreboard. They found themselves trailing 11-14 around the mid-point of the first half, when they probably should have been ahead by much more.

It was a sloppy first half for the Sting, as they committed eight penalties and gave the ball away far too often. It was the same way in their first game, and it’s something Prepeluh knows his team needs to clean up.

“I think we want them to be aggressive, but at the same time we don’t want them to be where they’re using their hands too much and not sliding their feet and that type of thing,” the head coach explained. “I think we got into a position where we were committing too many fouls right away and also committing too many turnovers. It kind of put us in a position to be a little more evenly matched as far as the score. Going forward we just kind of got to clean up our mistakes so we can be better.”

Prepeluh hasn’t quite figured out what it is that makes his kids more relaxed in the second half, whether it’s him talking to them at halftime that calms them down or they just get into more of a rhythm after one half of play. But whatever it is clearly works. The second half has just been a different story in both of their games this season.

They had the 14-point comeback against Foley, and really cleaned up their act against the Huskies. They only committed three turnovers until about one minute left in the game when they added on two more trying to force a turnover when their opponents were scrambling to come back.

Cole Elrod did a great job driving to the basket and forcing his opponents to make mistakes. (Photo by Eric Oslund)
Cole Elrod did a great job driving to the basket and forcing his opponents to make mistakes. (Photo by Eric Oslund)

The Sting ended up defeating the Huskies 58-45, and a big reason was the way they were able to spread around the scoring. Prepeluh knows his team is going to need to be more balanced than in years past, and he was happy to see that in his team’s home opener.

“I thought Kelton Sundstrom played really well attacking the hoop. He went on a little run there where he had quite a few points,” the head coach began. “Cole Elrod has been doing a really good job this year, the first two games of the season. He attacks the basket really well and he knows how to get around defenders and also, at least, get to the foul line, which is really good in terms of being able to put points on the board for us. It doesn’t always have to be the ball going into the basket and getting two points. He can just get to the foul line and get his shots there too.”

Up next, the Sting will be traveling on the road to Brooklyn Center Thursday, Dec. 8. Prepeluh knows it’s going to be a tough match up because of the athleticism Brooklyn Center possesses, and said he is going to make sure his kids really focus on the fundamentals these next couple days of practice. Hoping that helps cut down on the tough starts to their games.