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Eagles beat Aberdeen Christian 84-53

Judging from the final score Friday, it would be almost impossible to guess that Mitchell Christian's 84-53 win over Aberdeen Christian was actually a five-point game late in the third quarter.

Back on track
Matt Bunke/Republic Mitchell Christian's Matt Buekelman drives against Aberdeen Christian's Alex Droog during the first half of Friday's game at Mitchell Christian School.

Judging from the final score Friday, it would be almost impossible to guess that Mitchell Christian's 84-53 win over Aberdeen Christian was actually a five-point game late in the third quarter.

To be fair, Mitchell Christian was in control for most of the night. But a 16-2 run for Aberdeen Christian cut the deficit to 41-36 with 3:24 left in the third before Mitchell Christian dominated the rest of the way. The Eagles scored 43 points in the final 11 minutes and seven seconds to run away with the high school boys' basketball game at Mitchell Christian School.

"When they made a run at us, we responded," Mitchell Christian coach Tom Young said. "We try to get that intensity for 32 minutes. This year we just haven't been able to do that, but I think if we do that, we can be a great team."

Michael Rohrbach hit three 3-pointers -- including one from about 25 feet -- during Aberdeen Christian's big run, and an Alex Droog free throw cut the gap to five points. But Mitchell Christian's Matt Nielson finally answered with a big three from the left corner, then came up with a steal that led to a Matt Buekelman layup, and Beukelman followed with a three to key a big Golden Eagles run.

"Matt Nieslen hit a big three and got a couple steals," Young said. "Matt kind of took it upon himself to lead us tonight, and that's what you need from a point guard."

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In all, it was a 15-1 run for Mitchell Christian that gave the Eagles a 56-37 lead before David Rohrbach hit a three at the buzzer to end the third quarter. The Eagles continued to turn up the pressure in the fourth, forcing Aberdeen Christian to turn the ball over with regularity, and a 9-0 run midway through the fourth suddenly pushed the Eagles' lead to 29 points at 76-47.

The third quarter wasn't the only time Mitchell Christian had to respond to a big run from the Knights. In the first quarter, Aberdeen Christian trimmed a 16-4 Mitchell Christian lead down to 16-10 with back-to-back threes, the second of which came with 30 seconds left in the first.

But Jesse Tolsma hit a three just before the end of the quarter, spurring a 17-0 run for the Eagles. The Knights didn't score again until there was 1:59 left in the half, and went into the break trailing 37-20.

Tolsma scored a team-high 28 points for Mitchell Christian, including 14 in the first quarter. Matt Beukelman, playing in his final home game, scored 17 and Cody Thomsen had 13. Tolsma also had 10 rebounds and Nielson had 12 assists.

David Rohrbach led Aberdeen Christian with 17 points. Austin Wollman added 14 and Michael Rohrbach had 12.

The win was a big one for Mitchell Christian, which was playing its third game of the week. The Eagles ended a two-game slide, which included losses to No. 7 James Valley Christian and No. 4 Hanson.

"We had a pretty tough week where two good teams took it to us," Young said. Our confidence was maybe down a little bit, and there were stretches even tonight where it seemed like we were a little tired and fatigued."

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