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Boys Basketball: Irish lose in opening round

For much of the season, the members of the Rosemount boys basketball team would arrive to the high school gym early in the morning.

While most students were getting ready for their days at home, the Irish were busy doing shooting drills.

The U.S. Army has nothing on Rosemount. The Irish were shooting more baskets before 9 a.m. than most teams shoot all day.

Rosemount knew its weakness. It also knew it would have to keep shooting to overcome it.

The work was apparent early as the Irish started the season strong. But lapses in games ended up hurting in losses down the stretch.

Those losses hurt in the section playoff seeding.

Rosemount drew the No. 6 seed in the Class 4A, Section 3 tournament and played at third-seeded Burnsville last week.

The shooting was again critical as Rosemount's season came to an end in a 74-59 loss to Burnsville in the opening round of the playoffs.

"We came out and played really well the first three minutes," Rosemount coach Mike Manning said. "We shot really well. After that, the shooting just went cold. And Burnsville started to shoot well. It's a similar story. It's the same thing we've talked about all season. We just had lapses and we weren't shooting well. We didn't plays as intense defensively in the first half as we would want."

The early shooting helped the Irish jump out to 7-0 and 9-2 leads, but the Blaze had taken control by halftime, leading 41-28.

Rosemount closed the gap to six points in the second half, but couldn't get any closer.

"Another big factor was they pressured us three-quarter court and full-court and dared us to break the press," Manning said. "Jack Pauly did a great job breaking the press and getting us some 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 fast breaks. Unfortunately, we weren't able to finish. If we could have finished better, it would have been a good thing. They forced us to run full-court and we're a better half-court team.

"I was pleased with the effort. I am pleased with what we did this year."

Pauly led the way with six assists. He also scored four points.

Zach Vraa had a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds.

Garrett Glaus added 10 points for the Irish, while Justin Larson had nine points and six rebounds.

Manning commended a pair of his seniors.

"Chase Vogler started us out hitting his first two shots," Manning said. "Garrett Glaus hit a couple shots. Trent Thompson was in foul trouble early, but played a great second half, one of the best halves he has played. He was really active on the offensive boards. But, again, we didn't shoot well from the outside."