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Payer leads Nighthawks past Eagle boys

Aaron Saunders/Republic Tripp-Delmont/Armour guard Austin Barlow posts up against Mitchell Christian's Keegan Larson-Shields in a high school boys' basketball game Friday at Mitchell Christian School.

When the Mitchell Christian boys' basketball team stepped on the court Friday night to face Tripp-Delmont/Armour, it was already down two starters.

The Eagles were without Adam Rasmussen, who was on a mission trip, and Jackson Feiner, who was out with a bad back.

By the game's end, the Eagles fell to TDA 52-39 and were down four players as junior guard/forward Aaron Lemon and senior guard Keegan Larson-Shields both went down with knee injuries.

"We were shorthanded, but we don't want to use that as an excuse. The kids that were on the floor, left it all out there and played a hard game," Mitchell Christian coach Dennis Martin said. "We are not really deep anyway and losing those two guys in the fourth quarter definitely hurt. I mean you can't lose a kid that is as athletic as Aaron Lemon and not pay the price."

Both Larson-Shields and Lemon went down in the fourth quarter. Lemon's injury came when he drove to the basket and came down on his right leg. The junior, who scored 14 points before going down, rived in pain as the gymnasium was completely quiet.

After Lemon's injury, the Mitchell Christian boys' limped to the end of the game.

Trevor Payer of Tripp-Delmont/Armour gave the Eagle post players fits all evening en route to recording a double-double.

Payer finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Nighthawks.

The only other TDA player to reach double-figures was Shane Koster, who scored 11 points.

TDA was 21-of-37 from the field and used crisp passing to break Mitchell Christian's press defense to get open looks at the bucket.

"We did a good job flashing the middle finding open spots. I preached all week that we have to take advantage of those two-on-one opportunities," TDA coach Craig Holbck said. "Our front line did a good job finishing, but it was our guards that were making good passes."

With its latest defeat, Mitchell Christian is now 2-9 and plays Ethan Thursday in Ethan. The Nighthawks, who are now 5-6, take on Mount Vernon/Plankinton Monday in Tripp.

Tripp-Delmont/Armour 52,

Mitchell Christian 39

TDA (5-6)

Austin Barlow 9, Mitchell Bigge 0, Shane Koster 11, Brett Blume 2, Clayton Lau 0, Tanner Carda 0, Adam Lau, Trevor Payer 23, Tristan Gau 0, Cody Hrdlicka 0, Gunnar Dally 7. Totals: 21-37 7-11 52.

MCS (2-9)

Keegan Larson-Shields 1 0-0 2, Ethan Cooper 2 1-2 5, Aaron Lemon 2 5-5 14, Wes VanderPol 1 0-0 2, Chandler Nelson 5 4-4 14, Cody Gromer 1 0-0 2, Levi Knight 0 0-0 0, Isaak Peitz 0 0-0 0, Riley Larson-Shields 0 0-0 0, Noah Bowman 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-44 10-11 39.

Halftime TDA 24-18. 3-point goals: MC 1 (Lemon). Rebounds: TDA 22 (Payer 11), MC 16 (Lemon 7). Assists: TDA 15 (Koster 5, Bigge 5), MC 6 (VanderPol 2, Nelson 2). Steals: TDA 8 (Barlow 4), MC 6 (Lemon 2). Totals fouls: TDA 14, MC 13. Technical fouls: none.