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Boys basketball: Triple heartbreak

Garrett Goetz drives to the basket for two points during last Tuesday's loss to Burnsville.

To say that the Rosemount basketball team was feeling frustrated after losing double-figure leads in a pair of overtime home losses last week might be a bit of an understatement.

But head coach Bryan Schnettler is hoping his Irish can do the same thing they did a year ago; learn from their mistakes, make some adjustments and be at their best in time for the post-season.

“The guys were very disappointed after both losses this week. You don't want a team full of guys that feel OK after a loss,” Schnettler said. “It shows that they care a lot when they are disappointed. We will bounce back from both of these games and learn from them. Experiences like this will make us tougher and better for March.”

The Irish cracked the top 10 in the Class 4A rankings for the second time this season last Wednesday, and immediately showed they belonged Friday night by jumping out to a 50-36 lead against No. 6 Lakeville North.

Led by Xavier recruit and state scoring leader JP Macura, the Panthers chipped away over the final 13 minutes of the second half and pulled even at 67-67 by the end of regulation. The first overtime ended with the score 74-74 and it was still tied at 84-84 after the second overtime.

The Panthers finally pulled away in the third overtime, outscoring a depleted Irish team 13-9 to claim a 97-93 South Suburban Conference victory. By that time, Rosemount’s Kyle Kaupa, Tyler Hartigan, Matt Stephenson and Gavin Rudoll had all fouled out of the game.

“There were a lot of big plays made from both teams and they were able to keep more guys on the floor by the end of the game,” Schnettler said.

Macura went the distance for North and finished with a game-high 51 points. He had a season-high 55 points an overtime win over Farmington earlier this season.

“He hit some very tough shots all night long. As silly as it sounds, I thought we did a solid job of guarding him most of the night,” Schnettler said. “He is a very, very good scorer.”

Senior guard Cole Northwick helped the Irish keep pace, knocking down a school-record nine three-pointers en route to a career-high 34 points.

Logan Halvorson made four threes and scored 18 points and Stephenson finished with 17 points.

Kaupa added eight points and seven rebounds, Hartigan scored seven points and hauled in six rebounds and Jack Kessler chipped in six points and a team-high nine boards.

“We had some guys really step up and play at a high level on Friday night,” Schnettler said. “Guys played with a lot of heart and passion for all 48 minutes of the game.”

The Irish led by as many as 15 points in the second half of last Tuesday’s game against Burnsville. The Blaze rallied to tie the score at 65-65 held on 83-80 in overtime.

The Blaze finished with 35 free-throw attempts to Rosemount’s 18.

“They are a solid team, but we had plenty of chance to put the game away,” Schnettler said.

Halvorson made four three-pointers and led four Irish players in double figures with 20 points. Garrett Goetz dropped in 18 points, Kaupa scored 15 and Stephenson added 13.

The Irish (10-5) resumed their South Suburban Conference schedule at home Tuesday against No. 1-ranked Apple Valley and are back on the road Friday at Bloomington Jefferson.