Ada-Borup’s boys basketball team needed a push of its reset button entering Thursday’s game in Fosston.
Luckily for the Cougars (7-2), two of its players augmented their own game to help the team to a 75-65 win against Fosston.
Playing Norman County West on Monday, Ada-Borup’s game had no structure and was far from fundamentally sound basketball, but JD Kappes and Mitchell Ruebke’s proficiency gave the Cougars the necessary revamp to outdo Fosston (4-5).
Kappes did the scoring. Ruebke showed up on defense.
Kappes led all Ada-Borup scorers with his season-high performance of 25 points; 15 points came from beyond the arc, while the rest resulted from brisk drives and pull up jumpers.
“This was JD’s best game of basketball so far. He played the game without over-thinking it; he let the game come to him and he responded well,” Ada-Borup coach Trevor Stewart said. “As for Mitchell, the kid played hard and was tough inside. He showed his physicality and made his presence felt.”
Quite the role reversal occurred midway through the first half, as Joel Merkens fell victim to foul trouble and played limited minutes, where Ruebke remained discipline with just one foul to keep himself in the game. A rare feat for someone who has already fouled out in a handful of games this season.
Ruebke’s unusual, extended existence on the court played a big part in the Cougars’ success, as his performance of 5 blocks, 9 rebounds and 4 steals hindered Fosston’s offense and gave way to transition scores for Ada-Borup’s guards.
“Once Mitchell got going, others responded and stepped up their own game on defense,” Stewart said. “It was key to shutting down their big scorer and it helped our own effort in controlling the tempo of the game.”
Had Ruebke not operated as well as he did, Fosston may have broke the game open even more than the 9 point lead it held at the game’s beginning.
The Greyhound’s 6-foot-4 forward Seth Carlin drained 3 triples in the first half, ending with 25 points and 13 boards, and it was his play who gave Fosston an early 20-11 lead.
But behind Kappes’ shooting and Ruebke’s stout defense, Ada-Borup rallied to within 6 before half, and it came out running in the second with an 11-4 run to gain the lead it held on to until the final buzzer.