by Eric Oslund
The Zimmerman Thunder boys basketball team improved to 6-4 on the season after recording wins against Foley (69-53) and Monticello (79-68) on back-to-back nights at home Thursday and Friday.
It’s always tough to play in those games, because it is hard to prepare for two teams at the same time. Head coach Nathan Christensen said that they spent Monday and most of Tuesday preparing for Foley, and then spent Wednesday preparing for Monticello.
The situations were not ideal, but he was happy to see the way his team responded, especially in their second game.
“We played, probably, our best game of the year so far against Monticello,” Christensen said. “It was good to see just because they are a section team, went to state last year, so we knew it wouldn’t be an easy game. But we played really well.”
One thing that really helped the Thunder against Monticello was the fact that they had the opportunity to watch their opponents play earlier this season. The Thunder participated in the Monticello Invitational Tournament to start the year. The two teams did not play one another, but the Thunder were able to watch, and study, their section foes.
That meant they knew who to watch out for when they played on Friday, and made it easier to put together a plan of action.
“We were kind of able to see what they like to do – run their ball screens and try to get their best player open, Matt Todd,” Christensen explained. “He’s a great player, put up 36 points still, so we kind of game planned around him. Our defensive plan, and our guys executed it very well. Practiced it last week and were able to execute it in the games. It was really nice to see that we’re able to put on a plan, go out and execute it, and be successful at it.”
For the second time this season, the Thunder have won three games in a row, but they will look for different results following that stretch this time around. They recorded two losses following their last 3-game winning streak, and hope that is not the case this time.
It may be easier said than done, though, as they will be playing three games in five days, against very good opponents – St. Cloud Cathedral, St. Cloud Apollo and Princeton. To make matters worse, all three games will be on the road.
It’s not a situation teams want to be in, but it is the schedule and there is nothing the team can do about it but go out and play their game.
“Cathedral is supposedly the top-dog in the conference this year,” Christensen began. “They’ve got two 6-6 posts, which isn’t easy. They can step outside to shoot it, get in the post, both are left handed – which is never easy either – so we got to go out and play tomorrow night and play against some big guys. They also have shooters around them, so we’ll practice (Monday) for that. Thursday, Apollo is ahead of us in the section right now for rankings, so we need to prepare for them as well. Just one practice in between each, so we can’t get a really good group of practices in and kind of review what we did before.”