No excuses: Otters readyPublished 10:23am Friday, March 8, 2013
The Fergus Falls Otter boys don’t use excuses.
After seeing leading scorer Mike Millard injure his shoulder in their final regular season game of the year and starting point guard Isaiah Lemke sit out with illness, the Otters were able to step up a deliver a 77-54 beating of the Detroit Lakes Lakers in the opening round of the Section 8AAA playoffs Wednesday.
“We are far from full strength,” Otter coach Dave Rund said. “Illness and injury has claimed the playing time of two starters and our top three reserves. But as we say ‘Next man up’.”
The Otters showed that they are a very deep team as contributions by guard Drew Pearson, Joe Gaworski and the rest of the bench were able to lift Fergus to the section semi-final.
The Otters hope to make a return trip to the section title game this season, but standing in their way is Central Lakes Conference and ‘natural’ rival the Alexandria Cardinals.
In their two regular season meetings, the Otters have been able to edge the Cardinals 52-51 and 57-52. Alexandria hopes that the third time is a charm and with several starters missing key minutes, they hope their job will be that much easier.
“We need to see how deep we are if we are going to beat a very talented Alexandria team,” Rund added.
Leading the Cardinals is Logan Doyle. The Alexandria offense runs through Doyle as he has been nearly unstoppable in the paint this season.
“This may sound weird, but holding Logan to 20 points might mean we win the game.”
The Cardinals also have a good one-two combination from the perimeter as guards John Vogeler and Brandon Bistodeau are decent second options on offense.
“Vogeler has range and we need to limit his three-point capability, while we must contain Bistodeau as he has improved offensively this season.”
The Otters will look to come out on the court with the same defensive intensity that has helped them to two victories over their rivals this season.
Offensively, Fergus will once again look to a strong showing from the bench, but injury has not limited top scorer Millard from being an impact player under the rim.
The Otters’ Austin Rund can cause match up problems for several defenses and the Cardinals must prepare for the hot hand of Jackson McAllister if they are to stay in the game.
Tip-off for the game is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at MSU-Moorhead.