The Kimball boys’ basketball team traveled to Maple Lake Friday, Jan. 3, for a Central Minnesota Conference showdown with the (1-6) Irish. In a back-and-forth, thrilling affair, Maple Lake out-muscled the Cubs, 69-63, moving Kimball to 2-2 in league play and 7-3 overall. Irish senior guard Zach Johnson led all scorers with 19 points, as Maple Lake improved to .500 in the conference, with a mark of 2-2. As is usually a big determinant in these types of games, free throws were paramount in the Irish victory, as they hit 13 of 17 from the stripe, managing to stay in control to the end. The Irish jumped out to a six-point lead early in the second half (35-29). Kimball answered with an 11-0 run to take a five-point lead (40-35); and built the lead to 9 points (54-45) with less than nine minutes to play.
“With 2:55 remaining, we were ahead by two, 58-56, when they called a timeout to get their best player back in the game. We fell asleep and did not guard him and he hit a three to give them a 1-point lead,” said Cubs Coach Jay Klein. Joey VonWahlde answered with two free-throws to put the Cubs back on top 60-59, but the Irish made their free-throws down the stretch for a 69-63 win. “Once again our defense was very poor. We consistently lost track of their shooters and left them wide open for perimeter shots. We spent the whole night shooting from the three-point line which helps to explain why we were out rebounded. Our 2-point field goal percentage was 13/23. We just did not get enough post touches on the night. After a great start to the season (7-1), the last two games have been very disappointing. It is tough to compete in the conference when you lose conference games at home,” Klein said.
Kimball’ valiant effort was led by senior guard Cameron Hunt’s 17 points. Junior center Jared Merchant had 13 points and teammate junior guard Joey VonWahlde finished with 12 points. Other scoring: Hennen 9; Overland 1; Serbus 6; Spaulding 5.