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Boys basketball: Another split brings Irish to 10-10

Playing last-place Burnsville in the friendly confines of Irish Gym was just what the doctor ordered for a Rosemount basketball team that had been struggling on the offensive end of the court.

The Irish, who entered averaging just 52 points over their previous four games, played more aggressively and fundamentally sound while disposing of the Blaze 72-64 last Tuesday. The win completed a season sweep of the South Suburban Conference series.

"Rebounding, ball security and good decision making (were the keys) on the offensive end. More than anything, we competed," Rosemount coach Keenan Shelton said.

The Lukes were especially effective on the offensive end, with Luke Loehr boosting his team-leading 18.9 points per game average with 24 points and Luke Siwek matching his season-high with 21.

"Luke Loehr has been our most aggressive player for the past few games. He's given us an inside-outside threat and has made shots at a high percentage," Shelton said. "Luke Siwek was in attack mode against Burnsville. He found his way into the teeth of their defense for baskets and in the paint and got to the free-throw line several times."

Ethan Engdahl added 11 points against the Blaze. Myka Edmond scored nine and Alec Loehr — still getting back into the swing of things after missing time due to injury last month — added seven points.

Back on their home floor Friday night, the Irish kept pace with high-powered Apple Valley for a good portion of the game before falling 75-57. The Irish led 34-33 at halftime, but the third-ranked Eagles, sparked by Tre Jones' 48 points, pulled away late. Jones connected on 19 of 25 shots from the floor, including five 3-pointers.

"We played well on both ends and had good offensive flow and made shots (in the first half)," Shelton said. "The second half was the opposite of the first half. We got stale offensively and also allowed them a few too many easy buckets defensively. I like the way we competed, but you have to fire on all cylinders to beat a team like Apple Valley."

Luke Loehr made 11-of-17 shots from the floor, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Irish with 29 points. Alec Loehr and Edmond added nine points apiece.

The Irish (10-10) traveled Tuesday to Shakopee and are back at Irish Gym Thursday, Feb. 16, to take on Prior Lake. The Lakers won the last meeting 74-71 in mid-January.