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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Warriors Subdue Mahtomedi

(photo caption) Henry Sibley junior forward Phil Haig and the rest of his Warrior teammates took time before their matchup versus Mahtomedi to work with youth basketball players from the surrounding community (photo: courtesy ISD #197).

Prior to their Tuesday night home game on January 31, the Henry Sibley Warriors boys' basketball team took time out to recognize the faculty and staff of Independent School District #197 with their second annual "Staff Appreciation Night".

The last thing the Warriors wanted to do as they played the part of the gracious host would be to disappoint their guests of honor.

Though they had been defeated by Henry Sibley 79-64 earlier in the season, Mahtomedi's Zephyrs would make impressing the Warrior guests a more difficult task than Henry Sibley might have preferred.

Perhaps responding to the emotions of the pre-game events, the Warriors quickly took control of the game as they built an early six point lead at 10-4.

The Zephyrs, however, were up to the task. Slowly working themselves back into the game, Mahtomedi finally drew even at 24-24. The Zephyrs continued their hot streak, extending their new-found lead to 29-24 at the half as a three pointer from senior guard Harrison Andrews beat the buzzer and found the bottom of the net.

After Mahtomedi scored the first two points of the second half, Henry Sibley promptly went on a 9-0 run, including a three pointer by sophomore guard Peter Leslie.

The Warriors' renewed energy as they began the second half may not have occurred by accident, however.

"We had to get after our guys a little bit at halftime," admitted Henry Sibley head coach Tom Dasovich. "I thought some of our guys were playing pretty soft, playing as spectators in the first half, and we let them know about it."

Mahtomedi refused to fold in the face of the Warriors' surge, keeping the score close before finally tying the game once more at 50-all.

The Warriors and Zephyrs traded the lead a few more times, and the game was still tied at 58-58 with only four minutes remaining.

Unfortunately for Mahtomedi, Henry Sibley would dominate the remainder of the game.

After breaking the tie, the Warriors went on a six point run to build a 64-58 lead with just over two minutes left.

Henry Sibley was able to maintain their lead the rest of the way, largely due to the Zephyrs foul troubles, which allowed the Warriors to be in the double-bonus down the stretch.

Staking a late claim for "Player of the Game" honors was Sibley's Leslie. In a 13 second span beginning with 41 seconds remaining the in the game, Leslie scored a two point basket, stole the ball away from a Zephyr, and converted one of two free throws to seal the game.

Leslie, who scored a career-best 22 points against Mahtomedi in December, continued his hot streak against the Zephyrs with 18 total points on the evening.

Following a Mahtomedi miss, the Zephyr's allowed Henry Sibley to run out the clock on a 72-63 victory.

The Warriors were led on the night by the continued dominance of junior forward Trevor Mbakwe. Mbakwe scored 21 points while collecting 15 rebounds and adding 5 blocked shots. Leslie contributed his aforementioned 18 points, including nine points on three pointers, and junior forward Anders Halvorsen chipped in another 10 points in the Warrior effort.

Mahtomedi got 14 points on the night from smooth shooting senior forward Matt Jeans and another nine from senior forward Alex Jackson.

Henry Sibley improves their overall record to 10-8 and their Classic Suburban Conference record at 6-3. The Warriors will travel to South St. Paul Friday night for a 7:30 game.

With the loss, Mahtomedi falls to 4-12 overall and 2-7 in conference play. The Zephyrs now have a week off before traveling to North for a 7:30 game Tuesday, February 7.

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