Late three lifts MCHS
Jesse Tolsma scored a team high 23 points Thursday for Mitchell Christian, but it was Cody Thomsen that hit the biggest shot. Thomsen drained a go-ahead 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:30 left to play, giving Mitchell Christian a 43-42 lead ...
Jesse Tolsma scored a team high 23 points Thursday for Mitchell Christian, but it was Cody Thomsen that hit the biggest shot.
Thomsen drained a go-ahead 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:30 left to play, giving Mitchell Christian a 43-42 lead at the time and sending the sixth-ranked Golden Eagles on their way to a 51-48 win over No. 5 Viborg.
"We were setting up a play for Jesse, but I had the open shot, so I had to take it," Thomsen said.
Mitchell Christian (10-0) hadn't won a game by fewer than 10 points in its first nine games, but was pushed to the wire Thursday. The Golden Eagles led 19-6 after the first quarter, but Viborg held Mitchell Christian to two second-quarter points and eventually took a 35-34 lead on Stephen Lee's 15-foot jumper early in the fourth quarter.
The teams exchanged baskets for the next three minutes, with Viborg holding its final lead at 42-40 before Thomsen put Mitchell Christian up for good with his 3-pointer.
Thomsen's shot was big, but the Eagles' free-throw shooting might have been even more important. Mitchell Christian hit 21-of-28 free throws in the game, and after reaching the bonus by the start of the final quarter, hit 10-of-13 in the fourth.
"In a game like this, (Mitchell) coach (Gary) Munsen always taught me that you win close games with free throws. Tonight we stepped to the line and made our free throws, and that was the difference," MCHS coach Tom Young said.
As has been the case in almost every game lately, the Eagles' zone defense gave Viborg trouble early. Viborg had four points in the first 1:04 of the game, but scored only four points over the next eight minutes, spanning into the second quarter. Meanwhile, Mitchell Christian created early separation with a 16-2 run, which included back-to-back threes from Thomsen and Tolsma, giving the Eagles a 19-6 lead.
But Viborg clawed its way back into the contest in the second quarter. Mitchell Christian's only points came on a basket from Tolsma midway through the quarter, and Viborg's Cory Jacobson, who led the Vikings with 24 points, began to heat up. He had seven points in the quarter, and his three with 1:19 left in the second quarter closed the gap to 21-17 at the half.
"We just have to keep that intensity for the whole game," Thomsen said of his team's recent tendency to start strong, but let the opponent back into the game. "It seems like we fall down a lot in the second quarter, but if we just keep it up, we'll be fine."
Viborg took a brief lead at 23-22 only a little more than a minute into the third quarter, but Mitchell Christian pulled away again quickly. A 9-0 run, which started with a Thomson three and ended with six straight points from Tolsma, gave the Eagles a 31-23 lead.
Back-to-back threes late in the third cut into Mitchell Christian's lead, and a 6-0 run to open the fourth quarter gave the Vikings the lead. But Mitchell Christian calmly sank its free throws, icing their biggest win so far this season.
"I think it gives us a lot of confidence," Young said. "At times we lost our poise a little bit, but we had good effort for 32 minutes, and that's what I want."
Tolsma finished with another double-double, adding 10 rebounds to go with his 23 points. Thomsen also had 11 points and six rebounds, Matt Nielsen had 10 assists for Mitchell Christian and Alex Carnes had five rebounds.
Viborg fell to 9-1, and will host Baltic tonight. Mitchell Christian will play Langford Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the Hanson Classic at the Corn Palace.