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Boys basketball: In the win column

Rosemount's defense clamped down in the second half and helped the Irish earn their first victory of the young season Saturday afternoon.

A two-point halftime advantage gradually stretched to double figures as the Irish held Minneapolis South to 21 second-half points in a 66-52 win at Irish Gym.

"We played great half-court defense for the last 15 minutes of the game," Rosemount coach Bryan Schnettler said.

Senior Matt Nelson led Rosemount on the offensive end for the third straight game, scoring 20 points to go along with 14 rebounds. The 6-foot-8 forward made 7 of 11 shots from the free-throw line and 3 of 4 from beyond the three-point arc.

"It is very fun to see Matt Nelson playing at the level he is right now. He is a great kid who has worked very hard to become a good basketball player," Schnettler said. "Matt is playing with a confidence that he has not had before and we expect it to continue to grow through the season. That confidence should also rub off on his teammates!"

Senior Tyler Liermann joined Nelson in double figures with 12 points and also brought down six rebounds. Senior Brandon Forcier added 10 points and four boards.

A Nelson put-back slam dunk gave Rosemount an early 18-8 lead Thursday night against Benilde-St. Margaret's, but the No. 1-ranked (Class 3A) Red Knights rallied for a 75-49 win in their first game of the season.

The Red Knights forced Rosemount into 18 turnovers and held the Irish to 33 percent shooting from the floor.

"Benilde is a very talented team and they made us play outside of our roles and comfort zone," Schnettler said. "We let the game get away from us, but they also had something to do with that."

Nelson supplied over half the points for the home team as he dropped in a season-high 29. He connected on four three-pointers, made all five of his free throws and grabbed seven rebounds.

Garrett Goetz and Jordan Tumilson each pitched in six points. Goetz also had four assists.

The Irish (1-2) traveled to Shakopee Tuesday and are back in action next Tuesday, Dec. 20, when they travel to Woodbury. The team is back at Irish Gym Dec. 22 for a date with fourth-ranked (Class 4A) Cretin-Derham Hall.